Arab terrorism has claimed over 260 Israeli lives
and injured over 2,712 since last Rosh Hashanah
(updated February 2002)

Jerusalem-----September 20......Arab terrorists ambushed and murdered a 26 year-old Israeli mother of three this morning and seriously wounded her husband in a drive-by shooting. The Arab terror attack took place only hours after Yassar Arafat agreed to a cease-fire with Israeli authorities. It is becoming more established with every passing hour that Yassar Arafat's promises and action are not synchronized. Arafat either wants these senseless Arab terror attacks to continue (i.e.- by not arresting the terrorists) or has no control over Arab terrorism in Israel.

The terrorists were traveling in a truck around 7:30 a.m. and shot at the couple's vehicle from close range, and at least 12 bullets penetrated the car and killed Amrani, who sat in the back seat with her children, the youngest of whom is three months old. None of the children was hurt.

The Arab terrorists fled in the direction of Palestinian-controlled Beit Sahur and are believed to have continued to Bethlehem.

Shai Amrani, 32, was transferred to Hadassah-University Hospital at Ein Kerem suffering from gunshot wounds to the neck and chest. He remained in serious condition last night after 12 hours of surgery.

The army subsequently closed the road to Palestinians. In recent months it has become the main route used by Palestinian vehicles after they were barred from using Jerusalem-Hebron Highway 60 following a number of fatal shootings in the area.

Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction Al-Aksa Brigade, a group well-known for it's many barbaric acts of Arab terrorism has claimed responsibility for the terror attack. Amrani was buried this evening in Jerusalem's Har Hamenuhot cemetery in Givat Shaul.

Israel demanded that the PA immediately arrest the Arab terrorists responsible for the shooting.

"They have blood on their hands... The car is broken... Abba [Daddy] drove a little fast... Bar's father [name of a friend] took me to nursery school. My Ima [Mommy] isn't smiling and isn't happy because it hurts her... They took my Abba and Ima in an ambulance."

- 4 year-old Zohar Amrani describing his mother's last moments

Infrastructure Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is also a Nokdim resident, drove on the road 10 minutes before the fatal shooting attack. "The road is problematic," he said. "Only several months ago we were shocked by the horrific murders and lynch of the two young boys from is obvious to all that there is no real intention to make peace with Israel or uphold any cease-fire, it is a clear attempt by Arafat to evade responsibility. We must today assess the situation not according to the results on the ground, but Arafat's true intention."

Meanwhile Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Fatah declared they would continue to oppose the cease-fire.

The Fatah Al-Aksa Brigade claimed responsibility for the wounding of two Israeli security guards patrolling the perimeter of Oranit, located partially inside Israel, after a bomb exploded underneath the jeep they were traveling in Wednesday night. Following the incident the IDF imposed a curfew on four Palestinian villages near Oranit.

Elsewhere in the region, five soldiers were lightly wounded yesterday afternoon from shrapnel after Palestinians in Dir El Ballah fired anti-tank grenades at an IDF post located in the hothouse area at Kfar Darom.

Soldiers killed one Palestinian and wounded a second, and the wounded soldiers were taken to Beersheba's Soroka Hospital after being treated at the local clinic. Shortly afterwards Palestinians fired at the Israeli side of the Karni crossing, wounding an Airports Authority worker in the shoulder and hand. He was also transferred to Soroka, where his condition was described as moderate.

Palestinian terrorism is Arab terrorism - there is no distinction.
Arab states throughout the Middle East such as Iraq, Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia provide money and weapons to the Palestinians. The use of the words Palestinian terrorism is misleading, for it is the ignorant, poorly educated and brainwashed Palestinian who pulls the trigger of the gun or bomb supplied by Islamic extremists who live hundreds if not thousands of miles away.

Thomas Friedman of the New York Times has articulated what Arab terrorism is in it's most vivid form:

"If 9/11 was indeed the onset of World War III, we have to understand what this war is about. We're not fighting to eradicate "terrorism." Terrorism is just a tool. We're fighting to defeat an ideology: religious totalitarianism. World War II and the cold war were fought to defeat secular totalitarianism — Nazism and Communism — and World War III is a battle against religious totalitarianism, a view of the world that my faith must reign supreme and can be affirmed and held passionately only if all others are negated. That's bin Ladenism. But unlike Nazism, religious totalitarianism can't be fought by armies alone. It has to be fought in schools, mosques, churches and synagogues, and can be defeated only with the help of imams, rabbis and priests.

The generals we need to fight this war are people like Rabbi David Hartman, from the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. What first attracted me to Rabbi Hartman when I reported from Jerusalem was his contention that unless Jews reinterpreted their faith in a way that embraced modernity, without weakening religious passion, and in a way that affirmed that God speaks multiple languages and is not exhausted by just one faith, they would have no future in the land of Israel. And what also impressed me was that he knew where the battlefield was. He set up his own schools in Israel to compete with fundamentalist Jews, Muslims and Christians, who used their schools to preach exclusivist religious visions.

After recently visiting the Islamic madrasa in Pakistan where many Taliban leaders were educated, and seeing the fundamentalist religious education the young boys there were being given, I telephoned Rabbi Hartman and asked: How do we battle religious totalitarianism?

He answered: "All faiths that come out of the biblical tradition — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — have the tendency to believe that they have the exclusive truth. When the Taliban wiped out the Buddhist statues, that's what they were saying. But others have said it too. The opposite of religious totalitarianism is an ideology of pluralism — an ideology that embraces religious diversity and the idea that my faith can be nurtured without claiming exclusive truth. America is the Mecca of that ideology, and that is what bin Laden hates and that is why America had to be destroyed."

The future of the world may well be decided by how we fight this war. Can Islam, Christianity and Judaism know that God speaks Arabic on Fridays, Hebrew on Saturdays and Latin on Sundays, and that he welcomes different human beings approaching him through their own history, out of their language and cultural heritage? "Is single-minded fanaticism a necessity for passion and religious survival, or can we have a multilingual view of God — a notion that God is not exhausted by just one religious path?" asked Rabbi Hartman.

Many Jews and Christians have already argued that the answer to that question is yes, and some have gone back to their sacred texts to reinterpret their traditions to embrace modernity and pluralism, and to create space for secularism and alternative faiths. Others — Christian and Jewish fundamentalists — have rejected this notion, and that is what the battle is about within their faiths.

What is different about Islam is that while there have been a few attempts at such a reformation, none have flowered or found the support of a Muslim state. We patronize Islam, and mislead ourselves, by repeating the mantra that Islam is a faith with no serious problems accepting the secular West, modernity and pluralism, and the only problem is a few bin Ladens. Although there is a deep moral impulse in Islam for justice, charity and compassion, Islam has not developed a dominant religious philosophy that allows equal recognition of alternative faith communities. Bin Laden reflects the most extreme version of that exclusivity, and he hit us in the face with it on 9/11.

Christianity and Judaism struggled with this issue for centuries, but a similar internal struggle within Islam to re-examine its texts and articulate a path for how one can accept pluralism and modernity — and still be a passionate, devout Muslim — has not surfaced in any serious way. One hopes that now that the world spotlight has been put on this issue, mainstream Muslims too will realize that their future in this integrated, globalized world depends on their ability to reinterpret their past."

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