It’s mid 2002. I’m working on an interesting project, with a couple of good friends. I live in Hampshire, and part of the job is based at Stockley Park, near Heathrow. To arrive at 07h00, I have to get up much earlier than normal to drive up to the M4 and then on to Heathrow.
Driving in this early, the traffic isn’t too bad. Quite often when I get to site, there’s a chap with a beard but no ‘tash, whose job it is to man the parking barrier and direct non-pass holding visitors to allocated parking. One day I arrive late, having been held up in traffic; parking is tight, and he lets me park in the management’s reserved space. He seems polite and helpful. He often has a half smile on his face, as if he’s distracted by some private joke. He’s obviously Muslim.
My boss for this job is a Muslim, too. We are friends as well as colleagues. I’ve met his wife, his children, his mother and his brother and sister-in-law. He’s a bit younger than me, integrated, has strong views on 9/11 and against terrorism. He’s British.
Sometimes we go to site together, him driving, me as passenger. When the Parking Guy is on duty, it’s “salaam aleikum”, nods and more smiles.
Later, the Heathrow part of the project ends and work moves to the customer site in Central London. My other friend and I work all day and whoop it up on expenses at the Hilton Metropole and assorted restaurants and bars all evening. Life is very agreeable. We forget all about the Parking Guy at Stockley Park, not that any of us gave him much thought anyway. Eventually, the project goes into production, and we go our separate ways.
Fast-forward to early May 2003. I’m in an office in Hampshire, and I run into my old boss. He says to me, “You remember that guy at Stockley, the one at the barrier?”
At around 01h00 on April 30th, 2003, Asif Mohammed Hanif, 21, approached Mike’s Place, a bar and music venue on Tel Aviv’s waterfront situated next door to the United States Embassy. Hanif, aka the Parking Guy, detonated his explosive belt, murdering two musicians and a waitress, in addition to injuring sixty others and killing himself. Only the swift reaction of the venue’s only security guard, Avi Tabib, prevented far greater loss of life: Tabib blocked Hanif’s entrance.
Hanif’s buddy, Omar Khan Sharif, aged 27, had intended to join in the carnage at Mike’s Place, probably to cause a secondary explosion and claim more lives in the confusion caused by Hanif (a tactic often used by Muslim terrorists), but realising that his device was faulty, fled the scene. He went on foot to the David Intercontinental Hotel where he tried and failed to steal the ID of a security guard, possibly with the intention of getting hold of a firearm. He then had a tussle with a taxi driver, who alerted the police, sparking a massive manhunt.
Twelve days later, Sharif’s carcass was found washed up on the Tel Aviv beachfront. The autopsy determined that he’d drowned on the night of the attack. He died cold, wet, and afraid. I hope he struggled. I hope he panicked, as the water flooded his lungs. But even if he did, his death was far gentler and far kinder than the one he’d intended for his victims.
Credit for the murders was jointly claimed by Hamas (Jeremy Corbyn’s friends) and the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade. The attack was seen as a major failure of the Israeli security services; less commonly acknowledged is the fact that both men were already known to Britain’s MI5 as being linked to Al-Muhajiroun.
In the immediate aftermath, the UK media, even the Guardian, reported the attack accurately (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/apr/30/israel1). But as has become the norm with such instances, the follow-up reportage in Western media contains significant gaps. The only account to be fully relied on is the one provided by the Israel Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and this contains a lot of very inconvenient information that our mainstream prefers, for obvious reasons, to overlook. The following two links are the MFA’s main report and their supplemental report:
As always, such reports are worth reading in full, as they provide detailed accounts that have not been subject to media tampering.
One of the most striking facts to emerge from the MFA’s report is the amount of support that the two terrorists received from left-leaning, pro-Palestinian groups. The report describes these groups as “foreign left wing activists and the International Solidarity Movement”
Entering the country from Jordan at the Allenby Bridge Crossing on April 12, the pair travelled to Hebron, Gaza Strip, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv (April 21), Ramallah, Nablus, and again Gaza Strip, before making their way back to Tel Aviv on the evening of April 29. During their travels, the pair posed as volunteers at medical centres in Ramallah and Nablus, providing them cover for the real purpose of their visit. It is thought that Gaza was where the bomb-belts were assembled.
Much of the transportation for the two, together with other logistical support was provided by a female Italian left-wing journalist. She drove the two men herself, and facilitated their entry to and exit from Gaza at the Erez checkpoint. The MFA’s report contends that it was her intervention that helped ease their way through this checkpoint, since at the time, foreign journalists were allowed to pass virtually unhindered through checkpoints. Significantly, even when she realised from the media reports that she had facilitated their movements, she did not come forward to Israel Security Agency forces, instead forcing them to arrest her for interrogation.
She was not alone in this. The MFA report states the following:
None of the persons involved – neither Palestinian nor foreign – bothered to contact any official body, despite their familiarity with the terrorists, even after they understood that they were involved in the attack, until they came under ISA investigation.
Two years later, I visited Israel, my first trip to the country. When I first arrived, I stayed in Tel Aviv for two nights before going on to travel in Israel and Jordan, and then again, for another two nights prior to my departure from Ben Gurion for the return trip to the UK.
During research for this piece, I learned that Hanif and Sharif had stayed in “a hotel close to the Tel Aviv beachfront” on April 21st and April 29th. I was relieved to find out that this was not the hotel I stayed in, but a hostel, Haryarkon 48, further along the same street.
I visited Mike’s Place several times while I was in Tel Aviv. The day before my departure from Israel, I went back there for the final time, and got mildly tanked up on Leffe, a Belgian beer widely available in Israel. This was almost exactly two years after the “incident”. There were few customers there, most of them Americans from next door. The bartender was a black American, very watchful and wary with me, possibly because of my British accent. I had an amiable conversation with the Israeli security guard, mostly in signs and gestures, since he spoke no English and I speak no Hebrew. I like to think that he was Avi Tabib, but I really don’t know either way. I sank quite a few beers that afternoon, that I do know.
I learnt a lot from this experience. It taught me to take nothing at face value, to question everything. After all, I had driven past Hanif every day for weeks during the project assuming, if I even thought about it, that his half-smile was mere affability, whereas it was far more likely to have been contempt for me and contemplation of the mission that he must by then have been in the early stages of planning.
The reaction of my Muslim boss also taught me a lot. He was as appalled by Hanif’s actions as I was, and was not afraid to say so, to me and to his Muslim colleagues.
I have said it previously on these pages: I detest the Religion of Peace, for very sound reasons, but I’ll take each Muslim as I find him or her, and form my own judgement based on those findings. That said, encountering Hanif has inevitably made me far more suspicious of Muslims than I would otherwise have been.
Hanif’s somewhat hagiographic and semi-literate bio can be found at the jihadist sympathising website qassam.ps. As before, sources unfiltered by the MSM are worth reading in full, whether or not one agrees with their position:
The case of Asif Mohammed Hanif exposes one other highly significant fact, one that is routinely overlooked by the mainstream media. Hanif was 21 years old, and Sharif was 27 at the time of the attack. I was 44, my Muslim boss maybe four or five years younger than me. Hanif and Sharif were both beneficiaries of higher education – Hanif had a degree of sorts from a Hounslow university.
My contention is that jihadist extremism is working its way down the generations to the young and impressionable, to those most likely to be swayed to its cause, at a time that Muslim migration to the West is burgeoning, and where Muslims now enjoy a state-subsidised 4:1 reproductive advantage over non-Muslims, while the leftist dominated Establishment does everything it can to weaken our own society with its relentless anti-marriage, pro-choice and pro-trans agenda. It is also very important to consider that the events described above took place nearly fifteen years ago; the problem is now more entrenched than ever.
Unless we make a very sharp course-correction, very soon, this is not going to end well for us. The longer it is left, the sharper and more painful the course-correction will need to be.
This article is dedicated to the memory of those who died at Mike’s Place on the early morning of April 30th, 2003 . . .
Ran Baron, 24, of Tel Aviv: http://bit.ly/2Aiw4qh
Dominique Caroline Hass, 29, of Tel Aviv: http://bit.ly/2xZqCa7
Yanai Weiss, 46, of Holon: http://bit.ly/2lPB02D
. . . and to all the survivors, especially Avi Tabib, whose quick thinking and courage saved many lives.
© Martin Mezger 2017