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June 21, 2010
Palestinian murderers of Americans claim another victim
Palestinian terrorists murdered another American citizen last week. This time it took them seven years to do it.
Steve Averbach, then 37, was severely wounded in a Palestinian terrorist attack on a Jerusalem bus in May 2003. Last week, after seven years of agony, paralysis, and endless surgeries, Steve succumbed to his wounds.
Palestinian terrorists -- sometimes from the "extremist" Hamas, sometimes from our "peace partners" Fatah -- have murdered over one hundred American citizens since the 1960s.
The victims have come from all walks of life. Averbach was a family man, father of four, a Jewish immigrant from a New Jersey suburb. Some of the victims have been students, some tourists, some residents. Most of them are Jews, but there have been quite a few Christians, too. Children, housewives, the elderly - you name the type, you can find them on the list of victims.
What they all have in common is that they have been forgotten.
Forgotten by President Obama, who last week announced another gift of $400-million in no-strings-attached aid to the Palestinian Authority.
Forgotten by the Justice Department, which has a much-ballyhooed office for pursuing foreign terrorists who kill Americans - yet has never indicted a single Palestinian killer.
Forgotten by the journalists who never, ever raise the issue of American victims of Palestinian terrorism when they cover the State Department's daily press briefings, or press conferences with Palestinian leaders, or anywhere else.
Forgotten, too, by American Jewish organizations. For a time, some of them seemed interested in the matter. But they have long since moved on to other issues.
Steve Averbach now has the dubious distinction of being twice forgotten. If Americans who have been murdered by Palestinian terrorists have been almost entirely abandoned, Americans who were wounded in such attacks have been even more neglected, if that is possible. Do a Google search and see how many times Averbach's name was mentioned in the mainstream press during the seven years following the attack.
In many cases, the wounded will suffer for the rest of their lives. They may have lost a limb, or undergone the trauma of repeated reconstructive surgery, or had their lives shattered in a thousand ways by the shock and pain they endured. And in some cases, like Steve's, they finally slip away.
Please do not forget those who do not show up in the official casualty statistics. The orphans, the widows and widowers, parents who have lost a child, the children who have lost a sibling. Who can measure their suffering?
And who can comprehend what it means to these families to not only endure such a loss, but to watch helplessly as the killers walk free? Not only do they walk free - some serve in the Palestinian Authority's police force or other government agencies. One is even a deputy minister.
I was touched to learn of the individuals who took an interest in Steve Averbach. Actor Christopher Reeve, himself paralyzed in a horse-riding accident, visited him in the hospital. Montreal rabbi Emanuel Forman and Dawson College student Sean Bernstein raised funds to defray some of Steve's medical costs. Canadian scholar Gil Troy visited and befriended him.
Our political leaders, journalists, and Jewish organizations should learn from their example. Here are a few simple ideas, for starters: