Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, laid flowers at the site of Sunday’s truck-ramming terror attack at the Haas Promenade in Jerusalem Wednesday. Speaking at a memorial event hosted by The Israel Project, Mladenov drew a link between terror against Israelis and similar violence taking place around the world. “We need to stand united against this rise of violent extremism,” he said. “Terrorism will never be tolerated. There are no excuses.”
In the attack, a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem slammed a truck into a group of IDF cadets who had just gotten off a bus during a field trip. Four were murdered and 17 others injured.
The memorial event also featured representatives of Israel’s Jewish and Christian clergy, who called for an end to terror and peace among faiths.
Mladenov added his voice to a rising tide of worldwide condemnations of the attack, which comes in the wake of Palestinian calls for increased violence following last month’s UN Security Council resolution which described Israel’s presence in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank as illegal. Israeli authorities have recorded an increase of violent attacks since the passage of the resolution.
Also at the ceremony, European Union Ambassador to Israel Lars Faarborg Andersen said, “We are here in solidarity with the victims and families of this terrible terror incident that took place a couple days ago in Jerusalem and took the lives of four young people in a totally meaningless way…We collectively must do all we can to fight this scourge and end this meaningless and tragic death.”
Senior diplomats from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Italy, India, Belgium, Spain, Austria, and Lithuania also paid their respects to the victims of terror from their own countries and from Israel.
In a rare public demonstration since the 2009 unrest that rocked the country, protestors in Iran demonstrated against one of the founding fathers of Iran’s oppressive regime at his funeral Tuesday. The event provided a rare opportunity for the country’s “long-silenced opposition,” as characterized by the Wall Street Journal.“
The crowd was estimated by Tehran’s governor at up to 2.5 million people and became, in effect, parallel funerals,” reported The Journal. “One featured Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other senior officials honoring [the late President Akbar Hashemi] Rafsanjani. The other included protests in support of Green Movement opposition leaders.” Pro-democracy “Green Revolution” protests swept Iran after its disputed 2009 presidential election.
“People’s slogans today at Ayatollah Rafsanjani’s funeral shows that regime officials have to resolve the issue of house arrest of leaders of the 2009 dissidents,” Deputy Parliament Speaker Ali Mottahari said via Twitter. One of the slogans chanted by the crowd was “Free Political Prisoners.”
Mr. Rafansajani’s own daughter, Faezeh, is an opposition supporter who has served jail time for her activism. At one point during the procession, she spoke to the crowd and flashed the victory sign.
“The desire to change and reform has not died and whenever there is an opportunity it will resurface and we will raise our voice,” said one woman, who did not want her name to be published.
A Syrian man recovering in an Israeli hospital said that while the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is his enemy, the Syrian people “want peace with Israel,” The Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday.
Fadi, his wife, and their four children were forced to leave their home village after it was devastated during the Syrian conflict, which has claimed more than 450,000 lives since 2011. “There has been complete destruction caused by the regime through artillery, planes, barrel bombs from helicopters and tanks,” he said. He argued that Assad must be removed from power so that Syrians can have peace and “live in coexistence as one people without wars and to create a popular basis of friendship and brotherliness and to renounce violence.”
“This regime is the enemy of the world. It kills big and small. It doesn’t leave anything. Even animals it kills,” he added.
Regarding coexistence, he said that the Assad regime indoctrinates people to “think that the Israeli people is our enemy. But we don’t believe it today. We want peace with Israel and all the peoples around the world.”
Like all wounded Syrians in Ziv Hospital, Fadi’s case has been handled by Fares Issa, a social worker who joined the medical center only months before it started accepting Syrian patients. He specifically recounted an incident from last year with a young Syrian patient who lost both his legs from shelling. “The child who lost his legs, a 12-year-old, was screaming in the trauma room, ‘Don’t treat me, because we don’t have money to pay for the hospital.’ I tried to calm him down,” Issa said. “He said they don’t have money. But you want to give them life, life for a child who has lost his legs.”
Over 2,500 Syrians have been treated in Israeli hospitals since 2013, even though the two countries have been in a state of war since Israel’s founding. Israeli journalist Ron Ben-Yishai documented one of the risky missions the IDF undertook to rescue an injured Syrian fighter in 2015. Pregnant women sometimes travel to the border in order to deliver their babies in Israel, and Israeli doctors have treated young Syrian patients with cutting-edge procedures that allowed them to walk again.
An Israeli crowdfunding campaign raised nearly $350,000 to aid Syrian refugees last month.
The Australian government recently released photographs of weapons, which its navy seized from an Iranian dhow (a type of vessel) off the coast of Yemen in February 2016, that appear to be Iranian-manufactured and on their way to the Houthi rebels in Yemen. Matthew Schroeder, an analyst for the Small Arms Survey, an international research center in Geneva, Switzerland, said, “[T]he seizure appears to be yet another example of Iranian weapons being shipped abroad despite longstanding U.N. restrictions on arms transfers from Iran.”
Conflict Armaments Research, a private arms consulting firm, published a report last November indicating that its research and analysis “suggests the existence of a weapon pipeline extending from Iran to Somalia and Yemen, which involves the transfer, by dhow, of significant quantities of Iranian-manufactured weapons and weapons that plausibly derive from Iranian stockpiles.”
The Houthis seized control of the Yemeni government in 2015, prompting a military intervention by a Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries. The Iranian proxy, whose slogan reads in Arabic “God is great, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam,” have received arms—including missiles—and training from Iran.
American, French, and Australian vessels have intercepted weapons shipments from Iran on their way to the Houthi rebels. After the capture of Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, in 2014, Iranian parliamentarian Ali Reza Zakani, who is close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, boasted that Iran now controlled four Arab capitals, the other three being Damascus, Baghdad, and Beirut.
Secretary of State John Kerry has previously expressed his concern about Iranian missiles being delivered to the Houthis, and then being fired over the border into Saudi territory.