Subhi Yousef Alawneh, a poor schlub from the port city of Aqaba, was murdered yesterday. This may change the history of the entire Middle East.
He was a taxi driver who had the misfortune to be waiting for a fare in front of the Intercontinental Hotel when a Palestinian GRAD missile slammed into him and his car, injuring five other people, three of whom are still in the hospital, and hopefully will be out soon.
Many tens of thousands support the murderers of Mr. Alawneh. Not because of anything he did. Goodness knows, after all, they weren't actually aiming their weapons at him, they weren't actually aiming at anyone; they were aiming at Israel and the GRAD missile isn't very good at that. The members of the Solidarity movement like to say that these are only harmless pop-gun type affairs, and that the Israelis are wrong to try to defend themselves from such a paltry weapon.
Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other affiliated terrorist groups love these weapons, which are imported from Iran and other supporters. Generally, they just land in Israel and on the lucky chance they do their jobs and kill someone, it's almost always a Jew, and the only people who care about that are other Jews and maybe the American government. To the supporters of the Palestinian cause, killing Jews is okay, if not laudatory, and lobbing missiles over the border from Gaza, or in this case, Egypt, is just good clean fun.
Since the peace treaty with Israel in 1994, Jordan hasn't been at war with anybody. It is what it wants to be: a harmless nation friendly to everyone. My guess is that Subhi Yousef Alawneh was like that too. I never met the man, nor have any news reports about his lamentable demise said anything about his life or that of his family. But I suppose he was a nice, friendly guy who would take you where you want to go with a smile. Most Jordanians I've met, and I've been there on a number of occasions, are like that.
His murderers are the opposite. They have been indoctrinated by their government to do nothing but hate, and are soldiers trained to kill... civilians. The missiles they launch are designed to create collateral damage only. So when they sneaked into Egypt's Sinai desert to shell innocent bathers in Eilat, it didn't matter to them that Aqaba, where people support their cause, might get hit.
The question is what the Government of Jordan is going to do. King Abdullah II has ordered his government to look into the matter, to pay the medical bills of the five survivors of the blast and for Subhi Yousef Alawneh's funeral. This is fine as far as it goes. But how should His Majesty's government respond? The UN has almost never formally denounced these attacks, mainly because they were aimed at Jews in Israel.
It will be interesting whether or not the Security Council will take this up, since it's been their policy to only take up a draft denunciation of Israel's response, and only because they know the US is going to veto it as is traditional.
But this is different. Jordan hasn't done anything to anybody in decades, and as far as we know, neither has Alawneh nor for that matter Muhammad Ibrahim Raja Al Safasfa, Jasser Salam Al Bkour, Ahmad Mahmoud Oweidat or Fadi Muhammad Al Batm, the other victims. Is the government going to just say, "well these are the good guys and sometimes friendly fire happens?," or are they going to complain to the UNSC? Is Israel going to get blamed again for just being there?
Maybe something good will come out of this, but I doubt it.