|Ibrahim Hamed in handcuffs at the military court in Machane Ofer.|
It's startling how murderous monsters often look like
ordinary human beings. The tragic and unforgivable mistake many make
is to believe they ought to be treated like members
of some political opposition group. [Image Source]
This morning in the exceedingly modest military courthouse at Machane Ofer on Jerusalem's northern edge (which we know well from our own bitter experiences), Hamed was sentenced to 54 life terms in prison. (There were reports last week that the prosecution had sought 56.)
The history of Israeli sentences of this sort strongly suggests the man will go free at some early stage. But for now, the news media here - and almost nowhere else - are reporting in a straightforward way on the crimes he committed and the sentence imposed on him.
Hamed was captured after an eight year manhunt by Israeli forces in 2006 at a place within walking distance of where the sentence was pronounced this morning. Held in prison since that time, he is described in his Wikipedia entry as "a Hamas military commander in the West Bank who ordered suicide bombing attacks during the Al-Aqsa Intifada".
Let's briefly parse that statement.
Let's briefly parse that statement.
First observation: the word "suicide" is entirely out of place in the description. The crime was murder. The killers, a selection of Islamist losers and dead-enders, may or may not have intended to die in the effort. But that is surely not the defining character of the terrorist outrage. Describing the crime, and by implication the victims, as having a character determined by what happened in the end to the perpetrator is wrong and offensive to the innocent people who were their victims, and unduly respectful of the evil parties.
Second note: a military commander? Like a lieutenant general or a field marshal? What absurd nonsense. We're speaking of the ring-leader of the grandiosely named Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas division that executes its terrorist intentions; a man who never wore a military uniform, since terrorists conduct themselves behind a massive human shield of the societies in which they live. And does Hamas constitute a military force? If so, what are their military objectives? If the suggested answer is "they want to win territory and set up a sovereign state", then show us how this fits with their highly public and well-analyzed political manifesto, otherwise known as the Hamas Covenant (where it's conveniently translated into English). They are interested in neither territory nor sovereign states. Read the Covenant - it's all laid out clearly enough.
He was and he is a terrorist. He seeks (present tense) to murder civilians by any means accessible to him or the people taking orders from him. Military commanders everywhere would be fully justified in taking the greatest personal offence at any comparison to the rule-constrained careers they undertook.
The charge sheet against Hamad, describes how he planned, organized, assisted and executed the killing of 46 people and the wounding of more than 400 more. The cowardly bloodbaths he initiated include these:
- The December 1, 2001 staged, multiple bombings in central Jerusalem's Zion Square. Eighteen people were killed in the Saturday night crowd. A further 188 were injured. The gross savagery of the perpetrators was showcased by the way the first two bombs, detonated on the bodies of the two walking/talking pathetically-human explosives, were followed several minutes later - in accordance with the terrorists' plan - by the explosion of a nearby car bomb. That car bomb was timed to go off just as ambulances and first-responders arrived on the scene. When you are in the presence of barbarians, you must be very careful to distinguish their actions from those of a military.
- The March 9, 2002, bombing of Cafe Moment in Jerusalem. Twelve people sitting in the cafe were killed in the explosion. Fifty-four more were injured, ten of them severely.
- The attack on a social venue, the Sheffield Club, in Rishon Letzion on March 7. 2002. Fifteen were killed, 85 injured.
- The bombing of the Frank Sinatra Cafeteria on the campus of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem on July 31, 2002. Nine students, most of them Americans, were murdered in that act of savagery. About 100 others were injured. The nail-studded bomb was hidden in a bag that was planted under a cafeteria table and then detonated by remote control, allowing the killers to escape safely. The news media reported that day on street celebrations in Gaza.
How long before we see this creature's face on the posters held by "human rights activists"?