We have been in a condition of responding defensively to an increase in violence, similar to how Israel has acted several times when pressed.

 
During those times its officials go through long meetings when they listen to security professionals and ponder the alternatives. They are also building credit with overseas critics, always on edge about the Jews upsetting things.
 
Then the damage becomes too great, and Israeli forces escalate.
 
A crucial incident in the second intifada was a  suicide bombing of a Netanya hotel during the celebration of a Passover Seder. Thirty people died.
 
That brought attacks on several cities of the West Bank, with estimates ranging between 250 and 500 Palestinians killed within a five week period.
 
A similar pattern appeared twice with respect to Gaza. There had been a gradual increase in the missiles fired against Israel, with increasing demands from residents that the government do something, until the IDF went in with force. Some 170 Palestinians were killed in 2012 and 2,200 in 2014.
 
If Israeli officials hoped that the initial absorption of attacks would increase international tolerance of Israeli actions, the honeymoon was short or even non-existence. Warnings about exaggerated force then outright condemnations came quickly with the onset of Israeli offensives. 
 
With respect to the current wave of violence, Israeli officials are still doing more talk than action. The government has decided on a number of actions, but several stand more as declarations of threat than anything ready to put into operation. Already, however, there are increased security personnel on Jerusalem's streets and other sensitive areas. More of an escalation--but still in the mode of passive defense--is the partial closure of Arab neighborhoods, with police checks on all who would leave.
 
Close to 50 years of declaring Jerusalem an open city without barricades will resist anything more draconian. The city's hospitals, university, restaurants, hotels, car repair garages, street cleaning and garbage collection are dependent on workers from the Arab neighborhoods, or Arabs living in largely Jewish neighborhoods.
 
Israeli commentators have chided the effectiveness of Israeli actions. They asserted, within hours of roadblocks being established, that the limited closures on main roads out of Arab neighborhoods would not keep young people with knives from finding unmarked routes through the fields or between buildings. 
 
The closures are not hermetic. However, the inconvenience on those using the main roads to endure lines and inspections may filter down through the family pressure that is important in Arab culture. When Dad and Uncles can't get to work on time, kids and their cousins may think again before setting off to attack Jews.
 
Israel's actions have been more passive and reactive than aggressive. 
 
They have come in response to increased violence, including deadly attacks by teenagers as young as 13, as well as by Arab adults who had secure jobs in Israeli institutions.
 
Also provoking Israelis is what we hear from prominent Palestinians. Rather than dealing with the violence from their own community, they continue to incite it by accusing the Israeli police of murdering innocent children and adults. 
 
The realities are far from reports about White American officers killing African Americans on account of minor infractions. Israeli police, off-duty military, and civilians have injured or killed Palestinians who were engaged in deadly attacks against civilians.
 
The dissonance between video clips showing those attacks, and the claims by Palestinians describing Israeli murders of the innocent provokes a sense of political hopelessness. It comes along with hearing Arabs with significant professional credentials making wild claims about Jewish actions against al Aqsa, and the wholesale fabrication of history that denies any Judaic roots in Jerusalem. 
 
Mahmoud Abbas gave a another of his speeches proclaimed to be a momentous event. It came after several days of knifings in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel.
 
He proclaimed the innocence of Palestinians seeking a peaceful solution, and accused Israelis of murdering young activists, including the "murder in cold blood" of the 13 year old Palestinian who had tried his best to murder a 13 year old Israeli. Abbas returned to his theme of the Temple Mount, and sought to heighten the fever by accusing Israel of waging a war of religion over what he described as an exclusively Muslim holy place.
 
In response, the Israeli Prime Minister noted that the boy said to be murdered in cold blood is alive and under care in an Israeli hospital.
 
Israel Hayom carried a large front page headline directed at Abbas' speech, "Liar."
 
Skeptics might say that is the view of Sheldon Adelson's paper. However, headlines in Ha'aretz, Ma'ariv, and Yedioth Aharonoth were not all that different. 
 
Among the targets of Palestinian freedom fighters have been the 13 year old boy, a 55 year old rabbi, a 75 year old man, and a 70 year old woman.
 
To hear the UN General Secretary pronounce that Israel has engaged in a dangerous exaggeration of force against Arab protests adds to a sense of isolation.
 
Overseas media, such as CNN and BBC, seem to be echoing the blather of the UN General Secretary and the Palestinian leadership. They headline Palestinians killed by Israelis, and only note secondarily, if they do at all, that those Palestinians had attacked Israelis prior to being neutralized.
 
If there are still Israelis who think a political solution is possible, they have been made fewer and quieter in recent days. Given what the Palestinian leadership is saying about who is trying to kill who, one is hard pressed to identify a partner for discussions. 
 
If helps that we are not alone in seeing problems in Islam, and the near total lack of communication possible with Palestinians and many Arabs of Israel.. 
 
The insight may not have reached the White House, but it exists in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates. They do not express it as a problem with Islam, but they are active against the wrong kind of Muslims. At least some are urging Palestinians to stop the nonsense apparent in their incitement, and they are quietly negotiating to buy Israeli high tech military hardware to be deployed against their Islamic enemies.
 
Time and again, the lead item on the hourly news was that a US spokesperson said that Israel had used an "excess of force" against Palestinians.


The accusation is not doing well with Israeli politicians, both inside and outside the governing coalition. It is hard to say whether the White House, the State Department, or Mahmoud Abbas is now lower in the confidence in them held by the Israelis who are crucial to what might be called a peace process.


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The level of violence has so far remained within the range where Israeli officials deal with it by defensive measures. Should that continue, we might see this wave of violence peter out without an Israeli offensive.




 

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