- The Washington Times - Monday, July 24, 2017

It’s time to beat up on the Jews again, particularly the Jews in Israel and the West Bank. Once more they’re not standing still enough to enable the Palestinians to maim and kill.

Killing by stealth is what the Palestinian freedom fighters do best. They’re pretty good at it, particularly when they get to prove their manly courage against women and children. They’re bravest of all against infants. A Palestinian terrorist almost never flinches when an infant shakes his rattle at him.

The terrorists are upset this time because the Israelis installed metal detectors at the entrance to the al-Aqsa mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem after three Arab Israelis shot dead two Israeli police officers just outside the mosque, using guns they had smuggled into the compound.

The metal detectors have infuriated the Palestinians because they will make it difficult to ambush police and to spill blood, some of it no doubt of innocent Arabs, as part of their peace initiative. Slaying a few innocents is merely collateral damage in the name of Allah. Poor Allah, the crimes committed in his name and in his “defense.” It’s not entirely clear why Allah would need defending by mere mortals, but there is much in Islam that is difficult to understand.

Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority and ever eager to pour something flammable on troubled waters, to be helpful to someone passing by with a match aflame, said his government would “freeze contact on all levels” with Israel until the metal detectors are removed. This is negotiation, Middle East style: resolution on terrorist terms first, negotiations later.

Blowing the trumpet usually used to call retreat, the Israeli Security Cabinet is discussing ways to “reduce tensions,” including a “review” of the continued use of metal detectors to take weapons out of the hands of terrorists. The Trump White House dispatched its special envoy for international negotiation, Jason Greenblatt, to Jerusalem Sunday night to try to “end the bloodshed.” He will need extraordinary luck.

Mr. Greenblatt will “be closely coordinating” with Jared Kushner, President Trump’s 60-minute man for defusing trouble everywhere. Mr. Kushner deserves a trip to a war zone as relief from defusing tensions within the family, and particularly his own tense relationship with Donald Trump Jr. over the fallout from the young Mr. Trump’s conversations about whatever it was he talked to a Russian lawyer about.

It’s always one darn thing after another in the Middle East, and particularly between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Nothing will ever be settled, of course, until one side dies, either in battle, in brawling, or of old age. The Arabs have tried conventional warfare, even starting one war with Pearl Harbor-like stealth and surprise. They took their usual licking, and even that didn’t work, though it is true that the Arab military colossus enjoyed only a 6 to 1 advantage. Ganging up on women and children is all that a defeated colossus can do.

Donald Trump sent Mr. Greenblatt aloft with a statement condemning the violence, not just condemning it but this time “utterly” condemning it, and that’s condemning it to the uttermost. This is the soft approach, which might work against Upper or Lower Slobbovia, but probably not against the likes of the Palestinians, the North Koreans or the gallant regiments of ISIS.

The attempt to calm troubled land and water gained new urgency with the murder of most of an Israeli family finishing their Shabbat supper Friday night in the West Bank settlement of Halamish. The killer looked typical.

Omar al-Abed, 19, who lived in a nearby village, broke through a window and surprised the family with an unregistered knife, stabbing and slashing with stealth and surprise, killing the father, about 60, and his son and daughter, in their 40s, before they could gather their wits to fight back. Several grandchildren listened to the slaughter, terrified, hiding in another room. Their grandmother was slashed, too, but survived. The killer was wounded by an Israeli soldier who heard their screams and arrived with a gun.

The killer told his captors that he bought the knife two days earlier to avenge the metal detectors at the Temple Mount. It’s obvious to everyone that precautions against violence are unnecessary in the Middle East. Why can’t the Jews give assistance to those who only want to kill them?

The Israeli Defense Force distributed a photograph of the killer taken from his Facebook account — where else but Facebook? — and supplied a translation of his vow to avenge the metal detectors. “Take your weapons and resist,” he wrote to others. “You start a war amongst us and Allah will judge you for it.” Hamas, the terrorist organization, praised the slaughter of the Israel family as “heroic.” Of course. But if Allah is just, he might favor the Jews.

• Wesley Pruden is editor in chief emeritus of The Times.

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