Israeli soldiers secure the area after a stabbing attack by two Palestinian teenage girls took place in central Jerusalem on November 23.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A number of media outlets have pointed out this week that we have marked 100 days since the beginning of the present wave of terrorism – some would call it an intifada.
On Rosh Hashana Eve, Alexander Levlovich, 64, of Jerusalem was murdered. Palestinians threw rocks at his car as he was on his way home from a festive dinner. He lost control and died of his wounds.
Ever since, vehicular attacks, rock throwing, firebombings, stabbings and shootings have murdered at least 24 Israelis and wounded at least 260. And no end is in sight.
On Thursday there were several incidents: One Israeli was lightly hurt in an attempted car-ramming near Adam junction; two security guards were wounded, one seriously, in a stabbing in the Ariel industrial park; and soldiers were attacked by a Palestinian wielding a screwdriver in Hebron.
No deterrents seem to exist to stop these lone-wolf Palestinians terrorists, many of whom are very young. At the beginning of this present wave many in the security establishment hoped that potential terrorists could be deterred. The thinking was that if the young Palestinian man or woman contemplating carrying out a terrorist attack were to know that there was a nearly a 100 percent certainty that he or she would be killed either before, during or immediately after the knifing or car-ramming, he or she would refrain from carrying out the attack. Politicians, police officers and IDF officers called on Israelis with guns to carry them and to shoot to kill if they happened upon a terrorist attack. They believed this would strengthen deterrence.
Unfortunately, over the past 100-plus days it has been made abundantly clear that this thinking was hopelessly unrealistic.
In the vast majority of terrorist attacks – whether they be knifings or car-rammings – the assailant is killed. But this fact has had no discernible impact on the number of new lone-wolf attacks.
There are a number of reasons for this. First, Palestinian society glorifies these terrorists. The hitherto anonymous Palestinian youth who opts to pick up a knife and stab an Israeli is immediately catapulted into the Palestinian national consciousness as a hero.
Second, Palestinian society – including the supposedly moderate Palestinian Authority – regularly incites against Israelis. It should come as no surprise that murdering innocent Israelis is popular among Palestinians.
A survey published earlier this month by Dr. Khalil Shikaki’s Ramallah-based Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that “in the context of the current escalation in Palestinian-Israeli confrontations, two-thirds [of Palestinians on the West Bank and in Gaza] support stabbing attacks against Israelis, even though an almost three-quarters express opposition to the involvement of young school girls in such stabbings.”
Palestinians’ opinions regarding the involvement of young girls is hardly comforting. The vast majority are in favor of knifing to death random Israelis on the streets of Israel.
What is particularly worrying is the real danger that this present wave of terrorism will escalate. Presently, security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is still in place. Palestinian workers continue to have access to places of work inside Israel. The PA has not collapsed.
This relative state of stability is because the terrorist attacks of the past 100 days – unlike the wave of terrorism during the second intifada – have largely lacked any central planning by a terrorist organization. But there is no guarantee that this state of affairs will continue. The Hamas infrastructure exposed by the Shin Bet in Abu Dis, which was reported on Wednesday, is a reminder that there is a concerted effort to escalate the attacks against Israel that include not only stabbings and car-rammings, but also mass shootings and suicide bombings.
Of course there is always the possibility that, after 100 days of terrorism, the Palestinians will reach the conclusion that they have made their point and the violence will subside. Judging by experience, however, this possibility is unlikely.