News websites on Sunday started to doubt whether the terrorist who snatched a gun from a security guard in Jerusalem's Old City was indeed a terrorist. They made sure to refer to him as "the man who was shot," rather than as "terrorist Ahmad Khatib, who was eliminated." They reported that he was a new father and that all his acquaintances from the Arab Israeli town of Manda in the lower Galilee said he was a shy man and that his wife was pregnant.
Yet Manda has been a place teeming with evil intentions for a while now. Boaz Gilam, an distinguished basketball player and coach, can tell you all about it. Almost seven years ago, upon the outbreak of the Oslo War, during what Arab citizens of Israel refer to as the "October events," he learned in person who Manda's residents are.
On Monday, October 2, 2000, at 1:15 pm, he was traveling northbound on Route 784 near Manda. When he reached Manda he noticed a roadblock made of stones on the road. He attempted to turn around and drive back to the junction, but when residents realized he was Jewish they assaulted him with stones, bottles, and iron rods.
Gilam was hurt in his neck by a bottle, his face was cut, and his vehicle was badly damaged. He continued driving to the nearby Border Guard base and from there was taken by ambulance to hospital in Tiberius.
Thousands of Manda Arabs participated in these riots and stoned Jews traveling on the main road, which passes near their homes. Two area junctions were blocked for days because Manda residents made sure to bring light polls down. For long days, every car carrying Jews was stoned by rioters from Manda.
Hatred of Israel and terrorist activity are a tradition in Manda. A year and a half ago, two dentists from Manda were jailed on suspicion of joining Hamas during their studies in Romania and undergoing terror training on behalf of Hamas in Turkey. The two were supposed to assist Hamas in enlisting additional Arab-Israelis, identifying hiding spots, picking locations for carrying out terror attacks, and purchasing fertilizer for the purpose of producing explosives.
Two years earlier, three Manda residents were detained after joining Islamic Jihad. They were asked to carry out attacks in crowded locations in Israel, and particularly in shopping malls in the north of the country.
Several terrorists from Manda were also connected to the terror cell that abducted and murdered IDF soldier Oleg Shaichat.
Manda is one of the bases of support of the radical and violent northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. The terrorist, Khatib, was a member of the "al-Aqsa" institution in the town, which is closely associated with this branch. On Friday of last week, he arrived, on behalf of this institution and by pre-arranged transportation, in order to "pray at the Temple Mount mosques."
Meanwhile, Arab residents of the area are constantly involved in routine criminal activity, property offences, assault, murder, violence, and arson. Even mere traffic police officers are met with curses and are assaulted in Manda. That's just another way of fighting the occupation.
For a long time now, the State of Israel has not been conducting itself as if it seeks life. If it was, Manda would be somewhere else by now.
The writer is the chairman of the National Union-NRP Knesset faction