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Israel: Jerusalem Suffers Third Bulldozer Attack This Year

The first time it seemed like a freak attack: an anomaly separate from time and place. The second, it was a nightmare. Now it has happened again.

Israeli news reported today what appears to be the third terrorist attack with a bulldozer in the last eight months. Driver Mir'i Radeideh rammed a bulldozer into a bus and police car on the corner of Menachem Begin Boulevard and Golomb Street in Jerusalem. Sources at the Jerusalem Post say:

Witnesses described a harrowing sight of the towering yellow front loader speeding along the highway, dragging the police car, flipping it into the air and trying to crush it with its front shovel.

A video of security camera footage and a slideshow of the scene are available on the site.

Two police were “lightly wounded” and several witnesses, including many children, were taken to the hospital to be treated for shock. The driver was shot to death.

Radeideh, 26, was the married father of a young girl. The owner of the bulldozer, he was a resident of Beit-Hanina in East Jerusalem and the bearer of a Palestinian passport. His family, who was questioned immediately thereafter, claimed that Radeideh was a religious man with little interest in the politics of terror. His mother told Israeli television:

We are waiting for him to return home… He is only interested in religion, he doesn't know what terror attacks are, they don't interest him.

Another family member called Radeideh “a normal person who did not hold extremist views.”

July 2008 saw the first two bulldozer attacks, resulting in a total of three people dead and 48 injured. Both bulldozer drivers were residents of East Jerusalem.

As this news is just breaking, the Israeli blogosphere has only begun to respond. In a post entitled “Through Kefiyah Colored Glasses,” Treppenwitz's David Bogner cites the BBC's headline “Digger Driver Shot Dead In Jerusalem” and writes:

Memo to UK Jews: What the hell are you waiting for? Get out while you still can!

Jameel at The Muqata points out similarities in how all three attacks ended.

This is tractor attack #3 in Jerusalem in the past year, plus a car ramming attack near Jaffa street and the Merkaz Harav terror attack [see link below]. In all of the above cases, civilians actively took part in neutralizing the terrorist.

Yael of Aliyah! Step-By-Step is following the story as it is reported. She relays that the bulldozer driver was foiled by a fallen electrical pole, which impeded his progress. His demise was apparently at the hand of a civilian cab driver, who fired the first shots to slow him down. (News reports still differ on this detail; more information will come to light shortly.)

Yael writes:

Listening to the radio every five seconds the details of the terrorist attack that took place an hour ago in Jerusalem changed… The tractor attempted to try to flip the bus which was not empty but rather filled will little girls in Purim costumes [see link below] on their way to cheer up patients at the Hadassah Hospital for the holiday.

Fortunately for the children, a fallen electrical post prevented the tractor from flipping over the bus. The electrical post being in the way gave the schoolgirls time to get out of the bus to safety. ZAKA operation commander Haim Weinrot said that “the girls were hysterical. They saw the enormous scoop heading toward them and saw death approaching, but they were saved at the last minute by the post.” Several of the children were treated for shock at the scene.

In response to this third attack, police are studying the records of all bulldozer drivers and owners within Jerusalem's environs. “This is not the kind of attack we can anticipate to thwart in advance,” said one.

Related Articles (useful for background and contextual information)–

8 comments

  • MERC

    How can a people who have ethnically cleansed, occupied and oppressed another people for over 60 years not expect such “terrorist attacks”? And on Menachem Boulevard too! Israel should be renamed Blowback.

  • I find your chosen label of this attack and the attacker as “terrorist” quite disturbing and short-sighted.

    This deceiving manipulation of the incident is something one expects to find in mainstream media who need to portray a “good” and “bad” guy in every conflict, not on Global Voices where reason and balance is expected.

  • Antoun,

    A man rammed his bulldozer into a car, by all accounts available at the time it seemed to be on purpose, and then attempted to do the same to a bus full of school children.

    This was much in keeping, almost identical, to the previous two Jerusalem bulldozer attacks, which in the mind of the media were labeled as terrorist attacks due to their nature and intent.

    I agree with you that not everything has to have a good or bad interpretation, but in this incident where Party A was attacking civilians in the heart of a city with the intent to do them harm, how is that not “bad”? That’s the very epitome of it.

    I ask you: if this exact story had happened in another country, where all you knew about it was the very incident that happened without knowing where or the offending parties, do you think that you would perceive the incident differently?

    ~ Maya

  • MERC

    Maya, why no context here? If you’re going to throw the ‘t’ word around, why no reference to the ‘work’ of Israeli state terrorists who routinely bulldoze Palestinian homes in illegally occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank? Nobody is suggesting that running amok in a bulldozer isn’t ‘bad’, but it’s intellectually and morally dishonest to simply label it terrorism without reference to the routine and far greater terrorism of the Israeli state and its illegal occupation which drive some Palestinians to such desperate acts.

  • MERC – How can you compare a bulldozer attack targeting killing civilians vs that targeting the destruction of property? I am not supporting the latter at all, but merely highlighting the difference. Yes, the ‘t’ word is easily thrown around by Israeli media, sometimes mistakenly. But when there’s an act specifically against civilians, I can totally understand why it is used. How come it is so difficult for you to agree – an act of terrorism is that targeting innocent civilians. There’s great importance with regards to the intention. How can you not see this?

  • MERC

    Gilad, your state was founded on terrorism (Menachem Begin Boulevard for God’s sake). Yishuv terrorists engaged in terrorism from the 30s. Israel has engaged in it ever since 1948 against a largely defenceless people. Your terrorist leaders have become prime ministers and have had streets named after them. The terrorist wing of your terrorist state has just murdered and maimed thousands in Gaza and will, no doubt, go on doing so into the forseeable future. When you concede this, I’ll consider conceding your petty semantic technicality.

  • Dörte

    You are right: policemen are civilians. It’s an atrocious act of terrorism to attack them. It’s an even more atrocious act of terrorism to attack schoolchildren. But aren’t you a bit late protesting? Or do think this applies only to Israelis, and not to Palestinians?

  • rob

    It has long been apparent Zionist/expansionist nuclear armed almost unquestioningly American backed,armed,aided and abetted Israel has won the language war.Thus we speak of Arab terrorists and terror and always Israeli “response”.As if it is not obvious to all but the willfully blind that Palestinians are “responding” to over 60 years of crushing illegal occupation,collective punishment,destruction of infrastructure,”closures”demolitions etc ad nauseum.

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