The New York Times doesn’t understand. It believes that no one else does either.
Editorially, the Times does not understand why terrorists attacked a Jerusalem synagogue yesterday:
There is no comprehending the murder of four men, including three rabbis, at a synagogue complex in a neighborhood of West Jerusalem on Tuesday.
They were civilians, unarmed and at prayer in a religious sanctuary when two Palestinians, residents of East Jerusalem, went on a bloody rampage with a gun, knives and axes before being killed in a shootout. Two Israeli policemen were also wounded in the gun battle, and one later died of his injuries.
Like President Obama, who condemned the attacks, the Times takes the opportunity to draw a moral equivalence between Israelis and the Palestinians who were, lest we forget, celebrating the attack:
But it is also a tragedy for all Israelis and Palestinians. The two communities appeared increasingly locked in a cycle of hatred and hopelessness, where chances for stability, much less permanent peace, seem nearly impossible.
One suspects that drawing a moral equivalence, thereby demonstrating a cowardly inability, on the part of the Obama administration and many other Western democracies, to denounce Palestinian terrorism for what it is bears some responsibility for what happened.
By way of comparison, the Wall Street Journal had no problem understanding what happened on its editorial page:
To understand why peace in Palestine is years if not decades away, consider the Palestinian celebrations after Tuesday’s murder in a Jerusalem synagogue of five Israelis, including three with joint U.S. citizenship. Two Palestinian cousins armed with meat cleavers and a gun attacked worshipers during morning prayers, and the response was jubilation in the streets.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility, while Hamas praised the murders as a “response to continued Israeli crimes.” The main obstacle to peace isn’t Jewish settlements in the multireligious city of Jerusalem. The barrier is the culture of hatred against Jews that is nurtured by Palestinian leaders.
As for the larger political issues, the Journal explains them clearly:
The goal of this new jihad is to frighten Israelis into agreeing to a divided Jerusalem, a chief Palestinian demand in the peace talks that recently collapsed. Yet it is only under Israeli rule that all religions have been respected in Jerusalem. On the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the world should not be dividing cities.
President Obama condemned the attack, but his government has also done harm by denouncing Israeli construction in municipal Jerusalem. The George W. Bush Administration guaranteed in a 2004 letter to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that a future peace deal would require some West Bank border adjustments depending on the reality on the ground. In 2009 Hillary Clinton said the Bush letter had no standing, thus encouraging Palestinian hope for a divided Jerusalem.
Of course, Obama and Clinton were not the only Western leaders to direct their rhetorical fire first and foremost at Israeli buildings.
Is it not ironic that Israelis have been chastised for construction while Palestinians have been given a pass on their politics of deconstruction?
In addition, Hillary Clinton has allowed the Palestinians to believe that they might still use terror to gain a piece of Israel. Their goal, evidently, is to dismantle and destroy Israel, one piece at a time.