At 8:15 p.m. local time yesterday, a young Palestinian named Omar al-Abed logged on to his Facebook account.
“This is my will to you,” he wrote. “I am a young man, not even 20 years old. I have many dreams and ambitions. I know that with Allah’s help, they will all come true. I have loved life, and making people smile, but what kind of life is this? They kill our women and our young, they befoul our al-Aqsa and we slumber. Take your weapon and resist. They have declared a war on Allah. They have shut down al-Aqsa, and what’s your weapon? Mine is a knife, and my knife will answer the cry of al-Aqsa.”
Ninety minutes later, al-Abed, his knife at hand, jumped over the fence of the Jewish community of Halamish. In his knapsack were a bottle of water and a copy of the Koran. He stopped to spray himself with the water, an act of ritual purification before death. Then he crept around the community, looking for an easy target.
The Solomon house was it. Celebrating the birth of a new baby boy, the family was enjoying a festive Shabbat dinner. Al-Abed could see the lights and hear the cheerful conversations, the prayers and the songs. He walked over to the house and knocked on the door. The Solomons, unsuspecting, let him in.
Five minutes later, Yosef Solomon and his children, Chaya and Elad, lay dead, their blood covering the home’s white tile floor. The rest of the family managed to flee to one of the bedrooms and call the police. A neighbor, a soldier on a weekend leave, heard the screams and came running, shooting al-Abed and putting an end to the massacre.
This tragedy should infuriate you for many reasons, but two in particular scream out for attention.
The first is that the murder was entirely foreseeable, the direct result of Palestinian officialdom’s torrent of incitement regarding al-Aqsa. When the Israeli government placed metal detectors at the entrance to the holy compound after three Palestinian terrorists killed two Israeli police officers there earlier this month, the Palestinian leadership mobilized to portray the preventative security measure as an Israeli attempt to take the holy site away from Islam itself. Never mind that, ever since it reunited Jerusalem in June of 1967, the Jewish state has gone out of its way to award the Waqf, the Muslim religious body that administers the site, complete autonomy, going as far as to bar Jews from praying at the site we, too, consider holy lest we offend the sentiments of the irate Imams. Never mind that the response came after a bloody Palestinian terror attack, which, one would think, is the sort of action that desecrates the site’s holiness much more than a thousand metal detectors ever would. Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies have spent all week hysterically yowling that the Jews were marching on al-Aqsa, and al-Abed, 19 and impressionable, listened. Those who fanned the flames are as guilty as the one who brandished the knife. And they include bigots like Linda Sarsour, darling of the regressive left, who took to Twitter to claim falsely that Israel was denying Muslims the right to pray in al-Aqsa.
But there’s an even more mind-boggling coda to the story. As the Solomon family buries its dead—the community spent the day helping out by washing the blood of Yosef, Chaya, and Elad from the kitchen and the living room, and counseling those who had watched their loved ones slaughtered—the al-Abed family will enjoy a generous payday, courtesy of the Palestinian Authority, which uses the money it receives from, among other sources, American tax payers to handsomely compensate the killers of Jews. Because the payment is commensurate with the length of the terrorist’s jail sentence, and because the sentence grows heftier the more Jews the terrorist kills, the al-Abeds will be richly rewarded for Omar’s murderous spree: the monthly salary paid to the families of those sentenced to 30 years or more in prison is $3,120. Just for comparison, an average Palestinian engineer earns about $1,300 per month.
This is the tale of two families. This is the story of Israel and Palestine. And it’s not going to change until Israelis and Americans alike state, in the fiercest terms possible, that such bloodletting will no longer be tolerated. Passing the Taylor Force Act that denies the PA American monetary aid as long as they continue to compensate terrorists is a necessary first step.
Liel Leibovitz is a senior writer for Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.