Christian Living

Jerusalem Dateline

Palestinian Prison Riots: 'The Rest of the Story'

The late iconic radio announcer Paul Harvey once hosted a program called "The Rest of the Story." He related little known facts about well-known stories that brought an entirely different perspective. The same could be said about the current riots in Israeli jails by Palestinian prisoners.

They rioted following the death of 64-year-old Maysara Abuhamdia who died of cancer in Beersheba's Soroka Hospital. After his death, some prisoners began a three-day hunger strike. Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoner Affairs Issa Qaraqe demanded an international investigation into his death and accused Israel of medical negligence.

An Israeli court sentenced Abuhamdia - a Hamas operative - to life for attempted murder. He recruited a terrorist to blow himself up in Caffit's, a busy Jerusalem café in 2002.

That may sound sterile, but for someone who was at Caffit's that day in 2002, the story was very personal. Here's what she posted about Mr. Abuhamdia on Facebook:

"… My heart skipped a beat today as I realized the man (responsible for) nearly killed and maimed dozens of people, including myself who watched the whole drama personally died of cancer in an Israeli jail. I had forgiven this man but can't forget that day … as I watched the owner and waiter of Cafit bravely pin this man to the ground. Somewhere deep inside I had a fear he'd return to the streets to kill. I'm shocked as I looked on Google the outrage about this man, who actually received mercy of 11 more years of life when he sought to end the lives of many, including mine.

I want to shout from the housetops that that day is profoundly in my remembrance as a day when I, a witness, was spared harm and others spared death. I feel I would have been easily hit by shrapnel from the position I was standing in. I thanked G-d many times for his mercy to use me as a witness but also that I was spared harm in front of Café Cafit in Jerusalem that day in 2002.

I have now learned through many media outlets that this man died of cancer in an Israeli hospital today. I had always had a low level fear that he might return to the streets, you don't forget the one who tried to murder you.

What is the most shocking to me is that as I Googled this man's name and the circumstances of death from cancer is the outrage of media outlets all over the world at how he had been treated, not gotten to hospitals in time to treat his cancer, etc. etc. and yet he tried to kill and maim myself and many others and would have died at his own hand that day.

As at Passover we are instructed not to rejoice at the judgment of our enemy as the Everlasting Lord has compassion on the Egyptians too, so I don't rejoice but express a profound sense of awe again that I was spared that day and my enemy has passed and that all would be aware as the news is filled with the riots in prisons today that as Paul Harvey would say there is "the rest of the story"...