On Monday, I blogged about "The Week That Might Be". It has sadly become the week that might well get worse yet!
In my shock, disappointment, anger and frustration, I sat with CNN, Fox, Sky News and BBC last night to wait for their reports on the terror attack against Arab citizens of Israel. The reports did not appear. There was plenty of al-Zawahiri to broadcast instead and only after 10pm did I finally catch full reports from Israel about the events of 4 hours earlier.
When the reports came, they were shining brightly with apparent media maturity for once. There was no immediate equating of this attack with Palestinian suicide bombings, no demonization of right-wing Israelis as a whole and not even a mention of the word terrorist. In fact the first time 'terrorist' was mentioned was from the mouth of the Israeli PM Ariel Sharon.
The UK Guardian did include this sentence: If the motive is as Mr Barakeh fears, the attack will be compared to several previous incidents where Jews indiscriminately killed Arabs, described by Israelis as "nationalist murders".
Such 'several previous incidents' number only very few in fact and do not involve murder except for Goldstein's massacre in Hevron and two or three incidents. These were of course acts of terror and inexcusable.
In most other respects, it was a fair account of the situation by the Guardian.
The immediate admission by Israeli leaders of a Jewish terror attack was important. In fact, to be fair to the victims, one might argue that the international TV reports should have labelled it terror too. Sharon's remarks were necessary and showed not only Israeli maturity and morality, but also a significant difference between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Sharon has called this AWOL IDF soldier "a blood-thirsty terrorist" and MKs across the board have condemned the act - yes, settler leaders too!
In response to Palestinian attacks on Israelis, their President and PM come out with "we condemn this act that damages Palestinian national interests" - hardly a condemnation and this phrasing has perturbed Israelis for years.
Let's pray that the Arab community (and the Palestinians) calm their people who rightfully are hurting at this time. They must realize however that this is a lone gunman who had, as was reported, a difficult background and who had been unstable in recent times. (None of that is an exuse by the way!)
Yes, he shouldn't therefore have had a weapon and that will be investigated.
The Arab-Israeli community has every right to be angry and distraught. But the anger must be directed correctly. This was not another case of official IDF action that saw 13 Arab rioters killed at the outset of the Intifada.
No Israeli, except those who are rejected by 99% of us, condone such action. The Israeli security forces are and will continue to take action to monitor and curtail similar plans. Thankfully, Israeli democracy and the rule of law still stand strongly in that regard.
We maintain that we are a major player in the global war on terror. We will not tolerate terror of any kind. Whether our neighbors follow that example is irrelevant.