I trust that many of you remember the Tuba Zanghariya mosque fire back in October, and all the Israeli politicians tripping over each other to apologize to the 'Israeli Arabs' and to blame the evil 'settlers' for another 'price tag' attack. If you don't read French, you probably don't know that the crime has been solved. I know you'll all be shocked to hear that no 'settlers' were involved. The Tuba Zanghariya mosque was burned down by Islamists (link in French).
As it happens, my French is quite poor (I haven't really used it in nearly 40 years), so I'm going to post a Google translation, and if anyone speaks French and can make it clearer, please chime in. There's also a video report I'm posting at the end of this - that's in Hebrew.
On October 3, an AFP report, published by L'Express among others, and taken up by many French media reported the arson of a mosque in a Bedouin village in northern Israel, Touba-Zangariyya .Read the whole thing. And here's the video of the Channel 2 interview with Mr. Souad, referred to above. Unfortunately, it's in Hebrew only, without subtitles.
The Express attributed, without nuance or reservation or doubt expressed in the "settlers" in Israel.
Criminals who left behind them on a wall in the place of worship burned, the inscriptions "price tag" the price. Words that had been used by extremists of Jewish settlements, tagged with graffiti on a mosque in the West Bank Arab village of Yatma, two months earlier.
The initial police suspicion fell upon Israeli extremists with an identical profile, but failed to identify the culprits.
Mena had reacted immediately upon the announcement of the fire, in a dispatch dated October 3 (Fire of the mosque in the Upper Galilee: rogue!), Writing that it was highly unlikely that this event is the result of a political act committed by Jewish settlements.
Analysts at the agency, like many people in the upper Jordan Valley, in fact, knew enough about their region and the peculiarities of the village concerned, to issue this warning.
At Mena, we felt very strongly a new scrambles, telling us that everyone was wrong. But intuition is not a certainty for a journalist, and certainly does not replace the need to conduct a thorough investigation. That we did. It is in that context that I went to Touba-Zangariyya to meet with an important chieftain (Visit to Dalton City, Galileo). In writing, we did not cease to follow the evolution of events.
And, as usual, a few months after the crime, the languages began to loosen. Until a resident of Touba-Zangariyya, Bassem Souad, a Sunni Muslim, does not reveal the essential elements of the identity of criminals.
The man, under clear from the very imposing stature, took only a few minutes before giving me the interview I had to ask. A few hours later, he gave me a demonstration of what it was impossible that the fire has been committed by Jews. Conversely, Souad showed me that this act of arson was committed by people of his village.
"This mosque was burned Zangariyya" (Zangariyya-Touba is the result of the unification of the two villages and Zangariyya Touba), explain my interlocutor.
"Individuals from outside would have set fire to the mosque of Touba, the single entry of the two villages. For those of Zangariyya to join, you have to take a long road begins with Touba, and, above all, through the entire village. Arsonists Jews, burning a mosque under these conditions, with constant tension prevailing in the village, and dozens of machine guns and grenades in it, had virtually no chance of coming out alive.
On the other hand, the impact that media seeking the perpetrators of this mischief, there was no difference between destroying the mosque Zangariyya, or of Touba, located only a few steps from the exit of the village. Sensible person would have taken a risk as useless! "Says our man.
"For the rest," said Bassem Souad, "entries drawn on the ruins of the mosque have been using a piece of coal. It is a means commonly used by the Arabs, unlike the Jews, who, at all price tag in the West Bank, have used sprays.
This crime, "says the 43 year old man," was committed for political reasons. It is the prerogative of a small Islamist faction of Touba, recently formed, whose aim is to cause trouble between Jews and Arabs. Everyone in the village knows what group it is, but one is to tell the police as informers in our tradition, part of a crime more serious than that which was committed. Still, this small group tried awkwardly to imitate the way of acting Jewish extremists in order to be accused of this act. "
In advancing such remarks, Bassem Souad knows he risks his life. But that does not stop men like him to do what they consider just and necessary. It should be noted that, like other Bedouin, Souad is a reserve lieutenant colonel in the Israeli army, he spent over twelve years in Lebanon as such, most of them at the head of commandos special.
Still, the risk is very tangible. Thus, hours after the broadcast of an interview on Israeli Channel Two television, despite the security measures deployed around his home, the men shot at his house and its occupants live ammunition. They have missed the head of his 16 year old daughter a few centimeters.
His 17 year old son, who also prepares to join the ranks of the IDF in a month, was almost murdered. A hooded man, probably one of the Islamists, threw himself on the young man with the intent to stab him. Fortunately, the villagers who were nearby were able to repel the potential murderer.
A-Zangariyya Touba, we do not resolve their disputes in court, but stab wounds, machine guns, grenades and firebombs. These are four good reasons why the locals to remain silent, even if, privately, they say they revolted by the crimes of the Islamists.
Islamists, who may also make future costs of these laws Western, even though nothing in the words of Souad, evokes the possibility.
Let's go to the videotape.
By the way, this story is two weeks old, and there is not a single link in the Google search that is not in French. At least until now.
For you non-Israelis, you may not realize just how big a deal was made of the Tuba Zanghariya mosque fire - for which 'settlers' were blamed - in October.
UPDATE 12:37 AM
Here's a Hebrew blog about it in December telling the same (ignored) story. I doubt you'll see it in the New York Times tomorrow either.
UPDATE 1:12 AM
Here's the original Channel 2 report (the one I showed you earlier was the one on the shooting at Souad's house). This is the report where Souad says that the mosque was burned by Muslims. Again, sorry, but it's Hebrew only with no subtitles.
Let's go to the videotape.