They say this is not “organized” or “orchestrated” terrorism, but it is. In fact it is more widely “orchestrated” than the suicide bombings of the Second Intifada.
At the start of the 2000s, Hamas and Fatah terrorists were training, arming and dispatching suicide bombers to target our buses, malls, restaurants and more — killing 10 and 20 and 30 people at a time. Our defense minister assures us that there is no terrorist “infrastructure” in the West Bank these days capable of replicating those waves of bombers. Time will tell if he’s right about that.
But what we face now is unknown numbers of potential attackers, who’ve been stirred to murderous fervor by a thoroughly organized campaign of hatred against us.
The message that “the Jews are plotting against Al-Aqsa” has been pushed for months by Palestinian political chiefs, spiritual leaders, mainstream and social media: Mahmoud Abbas in speeches to his people (he finally lost the Israeli middle ground with his false accusation last week that Israel executed the teen Pisgat Zeev stabber); Fatah in leaflets and Facebook posts; Hamas in videos; the Islamic Movement agitating inside Israel; Arab Knesset members… all these and others have been throwing fuel onto the fire.
As was the case 11-15 years ago, the result is that we set out each day knowing that people around us want to kill us. For now, they are generally using less devastating methods than back then. But potentially, there are more of them. And they are right here among us — on the “good” side of the barrier we built to stop those Second Intifada bombers. They are men, women and even children. And the brainwashing has been so effective that they come at us ready and willing to die in the act of killing the Jew — the evil Jew, they have been so effectively persuaded, who has no right to be here, who has no connection to Jerusalem and to this land.
They say that relations between Jewish and Muslim citizens of Israel will never be the same after this, whenever “after this” may be. But black though this October has become, that dire conclusion seems premature, at least as of this writing.
Israeli Arabs were barely involved in the Second Intifada; their involvement in the current terror frenzy has been relatively marginal — despite the best efforts of some of their Knesset representatives — and may not signal the collapse of all bridges. The Nazareth woman who pulled a knife in Afula bus station on October 9 and was shot in the lower body, apparently had mental issues. The terrorist who stabbed four near Hadera on October 11 was living in Umm al-Fahm, but was not an Israeli Arab; he was born in the West Bank, and was in Israel under a family reunification arrangement. The mother of the Bedouin terrorist who killed a soldier and opened fire in Beersheba bus station on Sunday night was born in Gaza; the Bedouin community and the killer’s relatives rushed to condemn and dissociate themselves from his actions.
Israel’s relationship with its Arab community is complex, to put it mildly. They are (overwhelmingly) not Zionists; they are (overwhelmingly) law-abiding citizens. They want to see the conflict with the Palestinians resolved; the Islamic Movement uses that conflict to foment hatred and violence; the most successful of their political parties, Hadash, seeks co-existence. There’s a danger of self-fulfilling prophecy in writing off Jewish-Muslim ties inside Israel.
They say that Israel is putting up walls and dividing Jerusalem again. But the placing of six slabs of concrete in Armon Hanatziv — planned before the current wave of stabbings, to block petrol bombs and stones in a particularly hard-hit area — does not constitute the redivision of the city.
Still, the roadblocks at the entrances to Arab neighborhoods underline that Jerusalem has never truly been united since 1967; its Arab neighborhoods were never integrated. The folly of expanding the city’s borders to include Arab areas without seeking to govern them equitably has never been more clearly exposed than it is today, when Israel must protect its citizens from residents it chose to include in its capital city. This was fertile ground for the haters to exploit.
They say that this is the latest uprising against the occupation. It isn’t. It’s the latest uprising against Israel.
Most Israelis don’t want to rule over the Palestinians. Most Israelis want to separate from the Palestinians. If the Palestinians want a state based on the 1967 lines, they have to convince a majority of Israelis that their independence would not threaten our existence. You’d think this would be obvious. Evidently it isn’t.
This latest phase of terrorism and violence — like the conventional wars, and the suicide bomber onslaught, and the relentless campaign of misrepresentation and demonization and denial of Jewish history in the holy land — sends the opposite message to Israel. Much of the rest of the world — so short-sighted in viewing Israel as the Goliath when it’s a tiny, loathed sliver in a region seething with Islamist extremism — refuses to see it. But in bloody, unmistakable capital letters, the perpetrators of this new round of evil mayhem proclaim to Israelis: We don’t want to live alongside you. We want to kill you and force you out of here.