Photo of Chalamish Massacre Shown to Security Council

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon showed a grisly photograph of the Chalamish massacre during a discussion of the violence swirling around the issue of security at Har HaBayis on Monday.

The magnified image of the blood-stained dining room of the Salomon family was mounted on an easel next to Danon as he spoke.

“The Salomon family had gathered for the most joyous occasion, the birth of a new grandson. Instead, the night ended in a massacre. They sat down to eat the Sabbath meal when the terrorist entered their home. He stabbed his victims to death, murdering Yosef, the seventy-year-old grandfather, his daughter Haya, and his son Elad, all while the children were hidden in a room,” said Danon.

“Instead of condemning this act of terror and calming the situation, the Palestinians are trying to spread the lie that this unspeakable act of violence is Israel’s fault. Do not believe these lies. The terrorist who murdered this family did so knowing that the PA will pay him thousands of dollars a month.

“We do not need more carefully-worded statements asking for calm,” Danon told reporters. “The council must demand real action by Mahmoud Abbas, make him stop his tacit support for terror, force him to end this unbearable wave of violence, and make him do so immediately before the lives of more innocent victims are lost.”

The closed-door session of the Security Council was initiated by Egypt, France and Sweden for the stated purpose of “bringing about calm on the ground.”

The British ambassador to the U.N., Matthew Rycroft, told reporters before the meeting that his country strongly condemns the Chalamish murders.

“We are worried about an escalation and it’s important the Security Council plays its part in calling for calm,” he said.

The Council was scheduled to hear a report from U.N. Mideast envoy Nikolay Mladenov as well.

Publication of pictures of the murder scene by the IDF aroused some shock and criticism in Israel on Sunday.

Such images are rarely made public, for a number of reasons. Besides the right to privacy of the victims and their families, there is concern among officials that if it becomes standard policy, it will make the horror seem routine and inure the public to it. Some also argue that Israel gains no sympathy through display of such pictures; on the contrary, as one official opined, “Showing pictures of our blood makes our enemies happy, and demoralizes us.”

On the other side, there is the argument that the pictures, because they are so horrific, serve the national interest. They show the world the terrible violence that Israel faces and helps the public to appreciate that we have a right to defend ourselves.

In addition to that ongoing debate about the wisdom and propriety of showing the photos, questions were also raised about the decision-making process that led to the release of the Salomon photos.

One source told The Jerusalem Post the decision was made by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, which has a new head, Brig.-Gen. Rone Manelis. The IDF spokesman would not be drawn on whether it marks a new policy, saying only that the army releases pictures “according to relevant considerations.”