This is not a time to express certainty, either about what is happening or what is likely to happen.
A spate of Arabs throwing stones and homemade firebombs has escalated to two killings. One a shooting in the West Bank that killed a Rabbi and his wife. Another was a stabbing of a Rabbi and another Jew on their way to the Western Wall, along with the injury of the wife of one, a young child, and another who was nearby. A few hours later there was another stabbing near the Old City. In both these stabbings, police killed the attackers.
Politicians and activists, both among Palestinians and Jews, are operating at full volume. Palestinians have been saying for some time what Mahmoud Abbas featured in his speech, that Jews were embarked on a campaign to take for themselves the Muslim holy place al Aqsa, which in their terms is the entire Temple Mount.
The incitement continues, no matter how much Israeli officials deny this, continue to monitor Jews' access to the Temple Mount, and forbid prayer there by Jews.
It serves those inciting that prominent politicians, including Members of Knesset and Ministers, call for expanding Jewish rights to the Temple Mount, and insist on demonstrative visits to the place, along with the police cadres that guard them.
Muslim activists, including women, shriek, spit, and strike out at Jews who walk around the Temple Mount, while other activists up the fever by claiming that police assault Muslim women on the holy site.
Jewish rightists claim that the government is not doing enough against the dangers of stones, firebombs, and more deadly attacks.
The government response is that the IDF and police are not shackled, but are operating with greater presence in and around the Old City, elsewhere in Jerusalem, and in the West Bank.
The holiday season, and especially the traditions of visiting Jerusalem during Succoth, have added to the tinder. Statistics for this year's holiday indicate fewer fatal attacks than last year.
The police assigned significant numbers of personnel and closed roads near the Old City to private cars, in order to facilitate the flood of pedestrians. In response to recent attacks, the police forbid for the remainder of the holiday the entry to the Old City of Arabs who do not live or work there, and closed the Temple Mount to Muslim men under the age of 50. There are reports of military actions at several points in the West Bank, including Bethlehem, Nablus, and Jenin. Family members of those who attacked Jews have been taken into custody. Neighbors are throwing stones at the soldiers, soldiers are responding, and it is not clear how far the hot spots have escalated. There are been Palestinians killed, and reports of numerous injuries. Security personnel seized the gang that killed the Rabbi and his wife in the West Bank within a day of their action.
Jewish rightists are calling for action, both by the government in the manner of operations against the Second Intifada throughout the West Bank, and by individual Jews acting on their own. Arabs have been attacked on Jerusalem streets and in shopping centers. An Arab orchard was torched, and Arab vehicles stoned. An Arab family claimed that Jews had shot a young boy, but later inquiry produced the news that the kid injured himself while playing with a weapon.
Palestinian sources are reporting attacks on Arab persons and property by settlers accompanied by soldiers, with the soldiers acting only against Palestinians trying to defend their property
It's common for Israelis to discount Arab reports, but honesty requires a caution. The fog of battle has descended.
Both Palestinians and Jews are calling for calm. We can expect what we've seen on similar occasions. Individual Arabs and Jews will provide refuge to those of the other community who find themselves in trouble, while other Arabs and Jews will see themselves doing the sacred work of revenge. We can argue if individual violence of the style of Price Tag--against property or persons--will contribute to peace or more violence, either by showing the other side the costs of unrest, or further inciting hatred. Alongside demands for justice, and dealing only with the guilty--by Jews opposed to Price Tag and Arabs who speak against violence in their community--there is little by way of convincing evidence just what produces an inflammation, or what ultimately calms tempers.
The only certainty is that we are on the edge, or in the middle of another uptick in the violence of the Wild East. The damage as measured in lives lost, injured, or property damage may only be a tiny fraction of a day's carnage to the north in Syria, further east in Iraq, across the sea in Libya, or wherever else Muslims are killing Muslims.
It is common to say, and may be correct, that large majorities of both Palestinians and Israelis have less interest in the slogans of religion and nationalism than in peaceful coexistence, in something like present arrangements.
While government officials have announced increased efforts to deal with the violence by force or sanctions, they are also saying that they hope to keep down the carnage, and additional incitement, in order to allow the end of the holiday season to bring tempers closer to normal.
Nonetheless, Israel can count on a greater incidence of condemnations. Some will come from friends who think they can increase the level of civilization only in a country that is already civilized, even if they will not utter a word against Islam or hint that Muslim countries are beyond the edge of persuasion.
Other condemnations will come from Muslim governments that--on the sly--work with Israel against Islamic extremists, but are wary of stimulating opposition from their clerics or populations by indicating their cooperation with the Jews.
We shouldn't expect that Russia's attacks on the people trained by the US to fight Assad, and the US attack on a hospital in Afghanistan (excused with an "Oops. We're sorry.") will cut us some slack in dealing with Palestinian incitement and violence.
However, it ain't all bad.
In Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries, there are commentators who speak against fellow Muslims and in commendation rather than condemnation of Israeli Jews.