Contrasts in Consolation

On Wednesday there was a terrorist attack in Jerusalem that has Israeli leaders concerned that the violence is escalating into a new phase. The BBC reported that: 'A female Israeli border guard has died in hospital after an attack by three young Palestinian men in Jerusalem.' And that, 'The men opened fire at the guards at an entrance to the Old City, before being shot dead by Israeli security forces.'

In similarly dispassionate form, Al Jazeera reported that: 'Three Palestinian men have been shot and killed by Israeli police after a shooting incident, which left a female police officer dead and another injured in occupied East Jerusalem.' Apparently, all three men were 20 years old and were carrying guns, knives and explosives. It is the third item that has caused most concern amongst Israelis - the pipe bombs that they had managed to carry to the Damascus Gate.

Photo of Hadar CohenPhoto from Ynet News

Thus it was that on Thursday morning, Benjamin Netanyahu said that Hadar Cohen, with her comrades, had acted with heroism and resourcefulness, and together with their commander "had prevented a much greater disaster." Hadar's grieving family have the consolation of knowing that she died in a successful attempt to protect others. 

On the same day as that attack, Mahmoud Abbas hosted the families of Palestinian terrorists who had been involved in other Jerusalem attacks. The families have called upon him to secure the release of the terrorists' bodies from Israel. As well as saying that the Palestinian leadership is making great efforts to do this, he also said "Your sons are martyrs." Such a claim is a rather different form of consolation that nonetheless seems to mean a great deal to Palestinians.