Sunday, October 12, 2008

Another Media Field Day??

It is somehow inevitable that the events in Acre during the Yom Kippur holiday are going to get the “media’s” treatment with all that that implies.

I would like to start by going back a couple of months to life in Jerusalem. There, three terror attacks occurred within a short space of time and everyone was aware of what happened and the details of the attacks.

Now casting one’s mind forward to Yom Kippur, we find that the streets throughout the country are conspicuous by the absence of vehicles and have been taken over by kids on scooters, bicycles, skateboards, etc. There is a total absence of vehicular traffic.

According to one eyewitness report, a car appeared in the neighbourhood, radio blaring and driving at speed. With the large number of people using the road there was a distinct danger of an accident. But there is another thought, is this yet another terror attack?

These same eyewitnesses contradict the Arab driver's claim that he respected the sanctity of Yom Kippur by driving quietly into the neighborhood on the evening of Yom Kippur. He inexplicably told reporters that his radio was turned off, while Jews in the neighborhood said it was blaring and that he drove at such a high speed that people were afraid he intended to run them over in a repeat of similar terrorist attacks in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.

Another eyewitness report, translated from the Hebrew,7340,L-3607155,00.html , said that Arabs carried out a planned attack against their Jewish neighbours on Yom Kippur. The witness, who said he was standing in the main square of the Jewish neighborhood of Acre, a city with many Muslim residents, when a taxi driven by an Arab entered the neighborhood Yom Kippur evening at high speed with music blaring and almost ran down children in the street. Surrounded by angry Jewish residents, he parked his car, cursed them, and entered a building, where he targeted residents with objects pitched from the seventh floor.

Arab leaders have condemned the driver for disregarding the sanctity of the holy day. They have announced that they will be releasing a flier condemning the man's drive through the Jewish neighborhood on Yom Kippur. However, it appears this is to be in Hebrew and distributed in the Jewish neighborhood. That is, it is designed to placate the Jews and not to advise the Arab community regarding appropriately respectful behavior. The mayor has brushed aside this conciliatory gesture made by the leaders of the Arab community.

Certainly, the stoning of the Arab’s car cannot be condoned in any way. The police were present and should have been allowed to get the driver and his family out of the area.

BUT, BUT – The spread of false rumours that Arabs had been seriously harmed or killed by Jews reached the Old City, and then one has to ask the question, “How is it that so quickly other Arabs drove into the neighborhood at high speed AND in addition, a busload of Arabs arrived and went on a rampage, wielding knives, axes and truncheons and damaging more than 150 stores and cars along a 400 metre stretch of the main street?”

While on the one hand community leaders tried to calm things down, as if to exacerbate the situation further, Knesset member Ahmed Tibi called the riots a "Jewish pogrom," and said the police were handling the "attack against the Arab residents" in a discriminatory manner and another Knesset member Muhammad Barakei echoed Tibi's words, saying that "fascist gangs in Acre carried out a pogrom against Arabs, reminiscent of dark days in human history.

With tensions still high, the city council has for the moment postponed the Acre Theatre festival planned for the Succot holiday. This has infuriated the small shopkeepers, many of them Arab, as they see this resulting in a serious drop in their income. However, the council needs assurances that calm is to be assured.

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