Comment: Is the third intifada here?

Whether the third intifada or a new spin-off, Jerusalem is in the throes of the worst spate of Arab violence against Jewish residents in over a decade.

Scene of Jerusalem terror attack, November 5 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Scene of Jerusalem terror attack, November 5
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
There’s a sense of free fall in Jerusalem, of events spinning out of control – they are no longer isolated incidents.

And they’re not subsiding – riots on the Temple Mount, ongoing rock attacks on the light rail, rioting in Arab neighborhoods, the attempted assassination of Yehudah Glick, and on Wednesday another fatal sidewalk terrorist attack on the seam line between western and eastern Jerusalem.Anyone who lived here through the first and second intifadas will recognize the same jittery, nervous spirit in the streets. It used to be unsafe to board a bus; now it’s unsafe to stand at a bus stop or light rail station. Pedestrians look suspiciously out of the corner of their eyes as they walk on the street.They are no longer isolated incidents.Wednesday’s riot at the Temple Mount was not spontaneous.It was premeditated by Palestinians who gathered the night before with their weapons, prepared for a morning attack on Jewish visitors to the site. A few hours later, Ibrahim al-Acri, a Hamas-affiliated resident of Shuafat, mowed down more than a dozen pedestrians, killing a border policeman – another premeditated act of terrorism that was hailed by Hamas as the act of a “holy martyr” defending so-called “Israeli aggression” at al-Aksa Mosque.They are no longer isolated incidents.Whether it’s the third intifada or a new spin-off, Jerusalem is in the throes of the worst spate of Arab violence against Jewish residents in over a decade.The question is not what to call it.The question is: What are our leaders going to do about it? Build more Jewish housing in post- 1967 Jerusalem neighborhoods? Encourage Jewish groups to buy up more property in Silwan? Increase the maximum punishment for rock throwing? Call to change the status quo on the Temple Mount to enable free Jewish prayer? None of those moves appears to be helpful, and they have in fact exacerbated the situation.However, nothing Israel has done justifies Jordan’s decision Wednesday to recall its ambassador to Israel for consultations, following what it called Israeli ”violations.”That absurd doublespeak – placing the blame for rising Palestinian violence on the Israeli victims – does nothing to calm the situation. And neither does Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas praising Glick’s attacker as a Palestinian hero.It’s clear that the Jerusalem uprising has the backing and support not only of Palestinian terrorist groups but also the PA, purportedly our potential partners in a two-state solution.That eventuality seems farther away with each Palestinian terrorist attack and each security and political response by Israel. All the moves and countermoves seem to be adding fuel to the already scorching fire.Unfortunately, as time has proven, we can’t expect the Palestinian leadership to stop inciting and egging on unrest by creating hysteria over an imaginary Israeli takeover of the Temple Mount – it’s so much easier to foment hate and revenge than it is to actually sit down and try to create a better future for its people.And we can’t expect the current Israeli coalition to take a step back from its policy of building Jewish housing in all parts of Jerusalem or allowing the continuing parade of ministers and politicians onto the Temple Mount campaigning for changing the long-standing status quo.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strategy, as expressed at Wednesday’s official state memorial ceremony for slain prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, is to bring in as much security as necessary to crush this intifada. He has, perhaps rightly, blown off Abbas as a potential partner and sees only a military solution to the battle for Jerusalem.Let’s hope his way is the right one… because the third intifada is apparently here, despite Israel Police Insp.- Gen. Yohanan Danino’s statement to the contrary Wednesday, spoken only an hour or so after the surviving victims of the van attack were whisked away to the hospital.They are no longer isolated incidents.