The incidence of Arab attacks on Israelis has increased, to the point that officials have begun to use the worrying word, "intifada."
Most, so far, appear to have been the work of inspired individuals, not well planned or executed, that end up with greater harm to the attacker than to the attacked. A number of them have been knifings of soldiers or police at key locations where there have been several police or soldiers posted, with the person attacked moderately or lightly injured, and the person attacked or a colleague opening fire on the attacker and killing or severely injuring him.
One clumsy teenager got into a dispute with his father, and wandered off to the nearest checkpoint where he managed to lightly injure a soldier. Fortunately for this kid, his own injuries were not serious. However, it'll be some time before he is free to quarrel with his father again.
There has also been an increase in throwing stones at cars, buses, and Jerusalem's light rail, sometimes with minor damage to the occupants as well as the vehicles.
The firebombing of a car alongside an Arab neighborhood of Jerusalem injured three.
One attack by stones damaged a bus transporting Arab and Jewish students who take part in joint lessons, with minor injuries to several Jews and one Arab. Guesses are that it was a random target of opportunity, and not a planned against against those who pursue co-existence via education.
More worrying than most was a roadside bomb that injured a soldier in the West Bank.
Analysts suggest that the concentration of police and troops at sensitive points in Jerusalem or the West Bank--added to on account of increased attacks--present more attractive targets of opportunity. In other words, an increase in security personnel presents an increase in targets for those open to a momentary nationalist inspiration, or the revenge of relatives killed, injured, or imprisoned sometime in the past.
Eight decades of sporadic or prolonged Palestinian violence, and responses from Jews, has left many families with incentives for revenge.
One assessment is that the current uptick comes as the result of an Arab child and parent killed in a house burning, assumed to be the work of Jewish terrorists. It may also reflect demonstrations in behalf of the Arab prisoner who has been on a long hunger strike, regains and loses consciousness, may have suffered brain damage due to prolonged fasting, and can die, be declared a martyr, and spur another uptick in attacks, both organized and by enraged individuals..
We're still waiting for the first suicide bombing, which would signal a significant upturn in terms of the organization and skills involved in recruiting and preparing the person willing to sacrifice his or her life for the cause of Palestine, or for one of its religious or political segments.
Last night was especially noisy, both from Shuafat a kilometer to the north of us, and Isaweea, 200 meters to the east. The wild east does seem to be heating up.
Israel is not above playing the game made well known by the colonial powers seeking to control restive natives by playing one cluster against the other. The present opportunity appears in what are reported to be serious negotiations between Israel and Hamas about relaxing the blockade on Gaza, perhaps allowing the opening of a sea port, with Hamas agreeing to a cease fire lasting several years.
Mahmoud Abbas is in high temper about those reports. He claims the leadership of Gaza, although he does not travel there.
Israeli politics is not far from the give and take.
Knesset Opposition Leader Yitzhak Herzog has criticized Prime Minister Netanyahu of a poor choice in negotiating such a deal with Hamas and not with Abbas.
That seems odd, insofar as Abbas has no effective standing in Gaza.
Reports of those negotiations may be nothing other than Hamas bombast, insofar as Netanyahu has said that no such negotiations have occurred.
But that denial may be disinformation meant to deal with the problem of "negotiating with terrorists," with the actual negotiations going through third parties.
Turkey and Qatar are claiming the status of intermediaries between Israel and Hamas. This upsets Egypt, which sees itself as Turkey's rival for leadership of the Sunni Middle East, and which has had better relations with Israel since al-Sisi ousted the Muslim Brotherhood, and Turkey and Israel fell with Turkey's move toward Islam, and the dispute over the Turkish ship that went bad while trying to break the Gaza blockade.
We hear no end of excited commentary meant to deal with the increase in Palestinian violence. Some say that security personnel must be more assiduous. Others advocate "waiting out this wave of fashionable attacks by individuals," or "it'll help when the new school year begins, and the kids are off the streets."
Iran remains as the hottest issue of them all. A small number of Democrats among Members of the US House and Senate have indicated their opposition to the deal, but prospects are still that President Obama will get what he wants, perhaps with a veto of negative votes in the House and Senate that neither body can overturn.
The bad news for Israel and other doubters of Obamanian wisdom continue in reports that the deal relies even more than previously known on the willingness of Iran to cooperate with inspections, or even do some of them itself (sic), with the announcement of a major arms deal between Iran and Russia that will increase Iran's air defense capabilities, and continued pronouncements from Iranians in high governmental or military positions that they are committed to the destruction of both Israel and the United States.
Arguments continue about the effectiveness of Bibi's campaign against the deal. A number of American Jewish Democrats and members of Israel's opposition assert that the Prime Minister did more harm than good by his speech to Congress and his subsequent obsessive opposition that has made the issue a partisan dispute within the United States.
Others assert that putting Israel in the middle of things will help, no matter what the outcome of the Congressional process. Along with an increased antipathy to Israel and to Jews there may be an increased sensitivity to Israel's concerns. International concern with Iran will not end with the nuclear deal. Many expect early indications of Iranian cheating. And its support for Hezbollah, as well as other clients and Iranians active in Bahrain, Yemen, and elsewhere will continue to embarrass American and European politicians who aspired to bring peace in their time.
Claims that Iran has a sweetheart deal with the International Atomic Energy Agency that will allow it to certify its own compliance with sensitive issues may cost the President some votes in Congress.
Also filtering into the campaign against the deal with Iran are events in the north. Four rockets from Syria landed in Israel. There was no damage, but they produced extended air- and artillery responses from the IDF, reports of casualties among Syrian fighters, and Israeli assertions that Iran and its clients were responsible.
And in the south, several Hamasniks on the way to Iran for further training were kidnapped in the northern Sinai. Some see Israeli hands in this operation. As in much else, however, we sadly lack any device to sort through the contentious claims that serve one or another government, organization, or gang, and help us to understand what is happening.