‘The third intifada is here,” wrote the Palestinian youth who on Saturday night killed two Israeli men in a terror attack in Jerusalem and injured two others, including a two-year-old.
In a chilling Facebook post on Friday, a day before the attack, Muhannad Halabi, 19, a resident of Ramallah and law student at Jerusalem’s al-Quds University, wrote: “According to what I see, the Third Intifada has erupted. What is happening to al-Aqsa [mosque] is what is happening to our holy sites, and what is happening to the women of al-Aqsa is what is happening to our mothers and women. I don’t believe that our people will succumb to humiliation. The people will indeed rise up.”
Halabi’s Facebook wall exposes a youth highly aware of the political tensions surrounding the Temple Mount, and deeply enraged by what he perceived to be ill treatment of Palestinian women activists on the site by Israeli police, also known as Murabitat, the self-appointed female “guardians” of the Temple Mount, who routinely heckle and intimidate Jewish visitors to the site.
Commenting on a video of Israeli policemen arresting a Palestinian woman on Temple Mount on Wednesday, Halabi wrote: “Oh God, look at the situation we’ve reached. This is completely unreasonable. Anger, anger and more anger. Wake up from your slumber and save al-Aqsa. Let the revolution erupt.”
Two hours before his last post Friday, Halabi commented on the ostensible legality of armed attacks against Israelis. “According to the law, you have the full right to defend yourself against he who points a weapon at your face. Resistance lies within the boundaries of the law.”
He then proceeded to liken “Palestine” to a young orphan girl whose brothers had forsaken her to “an evil man with no children, who does not know how to treat children.” In Halabi’s parable, the evil man, symbolizing Israel, was unable to rape Palestine, but nevertheless “starved her, denied her rights, imprisoned her and burned her.”
Halabi also expressed disdain for “peaceful measures” in defending the al-Aqsa Mosque, and appeared to be deeply moved by the death of a Palestinian youth in the West Bank in a clash with the IDF last month.
Halabi left the following comment on his Facebook wall following Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech at the UN General Assembly last Wednesday: “Nice speech Mr. President, but we do not recognize east and west Jerusalem. We know only that Jerusalem is one, undivided, and that every part of it is holy. Excuse me, Mr. President, but what is happening to the women of al-Aqsa and to al-Aqsa will not be stopped by peaceful measures. We were not raised to be humiliated.”
“Defending the sanctity of al-Aqsa and its women is our pride and honor,” he continued. “Defending those with all means would be considered legal. I thank your efforts, Mr. President.”
In his speech, Abbas accused Israel of allowing extremists into Al-Aqsa Mosque and threatening to change the status quo at the contested holy site.
On September 28, Halabi attended the mock funeral of Palestinian youth Diaa’ Talahmeh — killed in a clash with the IDF on September 22 near Hebron — organized by the Islamic students’ union at his Jerusalem university.
“What caught my attention today and filled my heart with emotion during the play of martyr Diaa’ was the cries of the majority of the audience, men more than women, and the smiles of the martyr’s parents,” he wrote. “After what I saw today, I am confident that this university will produce a generation that will follow in his footsteps … a constructive generation that will bring about victory with its own hands.”
Three days before the attack, Halabi changed his profile image to that of Talahmeh’s.