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Inaccuracies in reports of Bulldozer attack

Jake Yaakov Livni (no relative of Tzipi) used to live in Melbourne and now resides in Jerusalem

Today's attack on Yaffo Street in the center of town received lots of press coverage and you have probably seen / read about it. However, some inaccuracies have also been reported - some of them quite significant - so I have some clarifications.

The attack occurred on the stretch of Yaffo Street between Sarei Yisra'el and the Israel Broadcast Authority offices in the former Sha'arei Zedek hospital. I have walked by there many times. A number of foreign press organizations have offices across the street so that some of them actually witnessed this extraordinary attack. They were able to provide immediate coverage, both from their windows overlooking the street and from the street level.

I have no doubt that the attacker would have continued on to the Machane Yehuda market, just a 1 minute walk from where the attacker was finally stopped. My mother was shopping there at the time; her cellphone didn't respond for a while and we were concerned. She later told me that the Arabs working in the market heard of the attack and stood proud with the events. This behavior has repeated in previous attacks, as well.

Many reports claim that an Israeli policeman shot the attacker, but this is not quite correct. The construction vehicle involved is a monstrously large vehicle. The attacker started his rampage near the corner of Sarei Yisra'el and was shot at by a policewoman. He then repeatedly rammed a bus several times with the front-end loader shovel before picking the bus up with the shovel and overturning it. Along the way, he drove over and crushed several vehicles. At least one van was run over several times. The silver Toyota had it's roof pulled off by the shovel; I believe that the woman at the wheel was killed but her baby in the back seat is safe.

An armed civilian managed to climb up on the vehicle and struggled to wrest control of the still-moving vehicle. An off-duty IDF soldier, about 19 years old, jumped off his bicycle and also climbed onto the bulldozer. The off-duty soldier, in short pants and a blue t-shirt, took the pistol from the struggling civilian and shot the Arab attacker, I believe three times. Only then did the bulldozer come to a stop. A uniformed anti-terrorist policeman (you may have seen them in Jerusalem; they ride around in pairs on trail bikes, dressed in black) then climbed up and fired a few more shots, to ascertain that this attack had stopped. (Remember that the attacker had already been shot at before and managed to kill people since those earlier shots.)

In what the Jerusalem Post described as "a surreal coincidence", the young off-duty IDF soldier who jumped from his bike onto the bulldozer is a brother-in-law of the man who shot dead the previous attacker, at Merkaz HaRav, just a few months ago. I heard the young fellow on TV and he said that he took his brother-in-law as an example of proper behavior and knew to do the right thing. He heard the Arab attacker screaming "Allahu Akhbar" (Allah is greater, i.e. greater than any other god) before he was shot dead (perhaps demonstrating that Allah is not so Akhbar after all).

I watched some of the video clips during live TV coverage, some of them I probably saw a few dozen times. In the video which shows a man holding a pistol as the bulldozer moves away from the camera before coming to a stop, the bulldozer is seen to rock side to side before coming to rest. This is where it climbs onto and crushes another car, killing it's occupant immediately. This happened in the last two seconds of the attack. That person might be alive and well if the attacker had been shot dead just a few seconds earlier.

The wild claims of Leftist and "Palestinian" so-called "human rights" organizations have made Israeli police and soldiers very, very hesitant to fire upon terrorist suspects. The Main Stream Media give the false impression that Israelis are trigger-happy, though this is the opposite of the truth. What if the attacker had been shot 4 or 5 seconds earlier? What if he had been shot dead 40 seconds earlier? Would we have been spared most of the dead and injured? Had the attacker continued into the crowded Machane Yehuda market, the dead and injured list would easily have risen ten-fold. (Last I heard, three people were killed besides the attacker, and about 70 were injured, at least one suffering an amputation.)

Comments on the web from the usual quarters try to justify this attack and also question the killing of the Arab attacker. Experience shows that the sooner such murderers are cut down, the fewer innocents are hurt.

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Posted on 2008-07-07 09:57:47 GMT

It is shocking and tragic to think of the loss of life and limbin this horrific attack..The perpetrator was a known criminal,rapist etc.Apparently the police hesitated to kill him thus allowing him to kill another innocent victim. What other civilised country in the world hesitates to defend its citizens,and is more concerned about the attacker?? I also find the BBC's take on this as outrageous and revolting as usual-they express concern for the attacker and none for the victims.I suppose in their view the more dead Jews the better

Posted by ella on 2008-07-06 23:33:49 GMT

Yet, the Arabs keep killing innocent people and then they cry for their rights in foreign countries such as here in Australia, USA, and Europe. I wonder when the world will wake up and acknowledge that Human Rights should only apply to those who respect it. Otherwise we will go back to the law of the jungle and it is sad to see that happening in the 21st century

Posted by BonBon on 2008-07-05 08:37:27 GMT

In a 'terrorist' environment, of course, you wait an even shorter time than usual before deciding to shoot first and ask questions later. I'd have done the same. Whatever the politics. Whoever the perpetrator.

Posted by Richard L+ on 2008-07-05 08:30:32 GMT

My comment is that whatever the genesis of an individual's deadly actions, they must be immediately stopped from killing people. Any loss of life is sad, but a homicidal bulldozer driver in a busy city street is someone with whom it is impossible to argue rationally. No one I know thinks the off-duty soldier who put a stop to the mayhem did anything other than absolutely the right thing.

Posted by Richard L on 2008-07-05 08:30:03 GMT

The young off-duty IDF soldier acted bravely and selflessly as did the other reported civilian showing zero tolerance to terorrists.Kol Hakavod. My heart goes out to the innocent dead and injured and their families.

Posted by danny on 2008-07-04 07:03:32 GMT

Whether this guy was a terrorist, a psychopath, a jilted lover, is immaterial. He had killed and was endangering the lives of innocent people and had to be stopped. I can't understand why his killing is even a topic for discussion. Hate to say it but the Australian police in every state, have killed people who merely looked threatening, before they did anything to anyone. Their actions have at times appeared to be overreaction but not in the case of the Jerusalem bulldozer attack. What should have the Israeli police done? Climbed into the cabin and reasoned with him?

Posted by Franita on 2008-07-04 03:58:13 GMT

It’s beyond me that we have to justify when to shoot when the other side doing all the shooting. The issue here is the innocent people are at risk and for a fault that is not theirs, the killing shouldn’t happen to any human who is acting as one. If the Arabs chose to be not human then they will treated as such and I have no hesitation to say that now and always.

Posted by Nadia, Melbourne on 2008-07-04 03:46:49 GMT

I see no reason for Jake's mother to be more specific - I see no reason why she would lie. Moreover, spokespersons for Arab terror groups justify the terrorist rampage and there are no reports of Arabs in the markets marching down Yaffo street condemning the attack and dissociating themselves from it. Peaceniks are worse than useless; by siding with terrorists, they provide them with justification for further violence. Israelis must get rid of any Arab (and haredi) who refuses to swear allegiance to Israel and to serve in the IDF.

Posted by paul2 on 2008-07-03 14:06:37 GMT

The shooting and killing was clearly justified because the attacker had commandeered a deadly vehicle that would continue to be deadly unless the attacker was completely incapacitated. Yet it is right and important that we think before we shoot and kill, especially in a case like this where it is not immediately clear it is a terrorist (contrast this with the mercaz ha-rav terror attack, where from the first shot everyone knew). These so called "Human Rights" organization do a lot to guard the morals of the Jewish people and the word of the Torah, even if they sometimes go overboard.

Posted by ALan Steinberg on 2008-07-03 11:19:15 GMT

Nice one Jake. If your mother could be more specific in her observation "that the Arabs working in the market heard of the attack and stood proud with the events", it would provide useful sound bytes for those writing letters to the press. If you csan send to it would be appreciated

Posted by Haifadiarist on 2008-07-03 09:18:04 GMT