The Enemy Within

Following the devastating Cafe Hillel suicide bombing back in early September, I blogged about my own personal experiences with terror, whether it be knowing someone who had been killed or injured, or my own brushes with terror.

Then I read this article this morning:

Three Jerusalem Arabs with ties to Hamas who planned to carry out a mass poisoning at a prominent Jerusalem cafe were sentenced Tuesday to five to ten years in prison by the Jerusalem District court.

The three men, whose arrests last September foiled their plans to poison Jewish diners at the city’s Cafe Rimon, had confessed to the charges against them, with two of the three previously reaching a plea bargain with the prosecution.

According to the sentencing handed down in court, Othman Kiania, 23, from the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, who had worked for the past three years as an assistant chef at the restaurant was sentenced to five years in prison, Moussa Nasser, 23, of Jerusalem’s Old City, was sentenced to seven and a half years in jail, and Sufian Abdo, 24, of the Jerusalem Arab village of Jebl Mukaber, considered the group’s ringleader, was sentenced to ten years in prison.

The three were previously convicted in the same court on reduced charges of supporting and belonging to terror organizations, supporting an enemy during wartime, and conspiracy to commit a crime for planning to lace pitchers of drinks with lethal quantities of a muscle relaxant.

The suspects told police the poison they intended to use on Cafe Rimon patrons has no taste or smell, and takes effect 15 hours after being ingested. It produces symptoms similar to a heart attack, they said.

As they planned the attack, Kiania recommended the group make trial experiments with the poison on cats, to determine its effectiveness.

After buying the drug at a pharmacy but then failing to produce the desired effects, the three conspired to carry out a suicide bombing, but did not receive approval from their Hamas operators. They were then arrested before they were able to carry out the attack.

I used to eat at cafe Rimon all of the time. I especially liked the mushroom blintzes, and would sometimes order coffee there as well. The irony is that I once became violently ill after eating there, and at the time believed it to be food poisoning. Had I been poisoned by one of the Arab chefs? Perhaps not, given that the article makes clear that they never went through with their plans. Not to mention the fact that had I actually been deliberately poisoned, I may not be here to write about it. But the point is that just by living here and going about your daily life, you are at risk. That thought occasionally freaks me out, but I try not to think about it.

Another interesting point raised by the article is the issue of Israeli Arabs. While many of them are loyal, hard-working citizens, there are also cells of terrorists among their population (as was also made abundantly clear by the Hebrew University bombing). And even if they are not involved with terror, how should we react to something like this?

Avraham Feld, a resident of Jerusalem, told Arutz-7 of a disturbing scene he witnessed soon after a bombing near the Cafe: “Last year, after the explosion that tore apart part of Lunz St. and Ben-Yehuda St. [and killed 11 young people], I arrived shortly afterwards at the Rimon Cafe. One of the things that overwhelmed me was the site of the kitchen staff of the Cafe Rimon in a state of joyous celebration – patting each other on the back, jumping up and down, singing songs in Arabic – it was like at the end of a soccer match when your team wins. They were marching and striding back and forth, so full of energy – it was amazing to me.”

Or this.

As was illustrated by yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling, Israel is a democracy, a fact that is exploited by some of its citizens in their attempt to undermine her very existence.

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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