When an Islamist drove his truck into a crowd in Nice last July, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key spoke out against the terror attack. When an Islamist drove his truck into a crowd in Berlin last December, New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English spoke out against the terror attack. An Islamist has just driven a truck into a crowd in Jerusalem and the New Zealand government is silent.
While Kiwi politicians are yet to make comment on the terror attack, there was condemnation from around the rest of the Western world following the tragedy that claimed 4 young lives and injured 16 others.
Minutes after the attack, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro tweeted in Hebrew “I harshly condemn the terror attack in Jerusalem in which IDF troops were killed. Condolences to the families of the deceased and prayers for recovery to those injured.”
The UK’s ambassador to Israel, David Quarrey, also took to Twitter to condemn the attack. There can “be no justification for terrorism anywhere,” he wrote, adding that his thoughts are with the victims and their families. Australian envoy Dave Sharma condemned “unreservedly [the] vicious Jerusalem terrorist ramming attack targeting IDF soldiers.”
Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, weighed in also, saying “Canada stands firmly with Israel in condemning today’s horrific terrorist attack. Our thoughts are with the victims’ families & the injured.”
In Germany, Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate lit up in the colors of the Israeli flag on Monday, in a show of solidarity with the victims of Sunday’s Jerusalem truck-ramming attack, and Chancellor Angela Merkel wrote “The federal government condemns this terrorist attack. I can assure you that we are on the side of Israel in fight with terrorism.”
A video of the Israeli flag was projected onto Paris’s city hall and the Dutch city of Rotterdam flew an Israeli flag at half mast atop the town hall in solidarity with the victims. Representatives from both cities spoke out against the terror attack.
Joining these democratic leaders in condemning the terror attack was the United Nations. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov also took to social media to express his outrage over the attack, writing “My thoughts go out to victims of shocking #terror attack in #Jerusalem. Must be condemned by all. Absolutely no excuses, no justifications!” he wrote on Twitter. And the United Nations Security Council, with its new composition, also issued a statement in which they “condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack” and “The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security”.
Praise for the terror from Palestinians
While New Zealand remains silent, Palestinians have praised the terrorist. After learning of her 28-year-old brother’s ‘successful’ terror attack, Al-Qunbar’s sister commented, “Praise be to God that he became a martyr. It’s the most beautiful martyrdom.” There were social media posts celebrating the truck-ramming attack and sweets were handed out in West Bank streets. In the Gaza Strip, the ruling Hamas terror group praised the attack, echoing the words of Ban ki-Moon in calling it a “natural response to the Israeli occupier’s crimes” and proof that the “Jerusalem Intifada” was not over. They also held a rally in honour of the event with anti-Israel chants.
Meanwhile, Fatah, the party led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, issued a statement soon after the attack saying “He who conducted the Jerusalem ramming operation was martyred by the Israeli occupation police”. Similarly, the official PA daily referred to it as “a car ramming operation” and wrote that the killer “died as a Shahid” (i.e., a Martyr who died for Allah). Further, in line with its policy, the PA will reward the terrorist’s wife with a lifetime monthly allowance. In total the wife of this murderer will receive 2900 shekels ($760) per month for the rest of her life and, within the next few months, she will receive a one-time grant of 6000 shekels ($1580).
Like New Zealand, PA president Mahmoud Abbas did not condemn the terror attack, in contrast to his condemnations of the Berlin and Nice attacks. While Abbas sent messages to Palestinians through his silence, the Palestinian terror organizations that are members of the PLO openly expressed their support for the killings.
New Zealand’s issue with terrorism
This is not the first time New Zealand has been an outlier among democratic nations by not condemning terror. Last year, when specifically asked to do so, Minister McCully could not bring himself to call Palestinian attacks “terrorism”. The New Zealand government has been silent when Israelis have been targeted but not when other nations have suffered attacks. This includes the Palestinian shooting rampage in Tel Aviv last June and all of the Palestinian attacks over the past year.