In the midst of the noise from various politicians blaming one another for not solving the country's problems, a 16 year old Palestinian entered a supermarket that serves Jews and Palestinians, with Jewish and Palestinian employees in a West Bank settlement, apparently took a knife from a display in the store, and began stabbing.
Before he did too much damage, an off-duty security guard, shopping in the store, shot him in the leg.
Lots of blood, no one seriously hurt, but a message about the tension that surrounds us.
Coming at the time of the riots as the result of Ferguson, the uptick in individual Palestinian violence points in the direction of similarities as well as differences between the minorities of the two countries.
The parallels are also applicable more broadly, as Western Europe deals with the unrest of its own minorities. There the worry is that some of the thousands who have gone to fight with ISIS will return with a motivation to spread the Caliphate more broadly.
Intelligence reports are that recent events hereabouts are not part of a wider plan, but individuals spurred to action. They may have an uncle, brother, or cousin killed or imprisoned by Israeli security, or some other reason for revenge. Or they might simply be earning credit among peers who share nationalist anger.
Parallels between African Americans, Israeli Arabs, and Palestinians go beyond the young and violent.
Those aspiring to political leadership in both communities include those who look inward and outward.
Those looking inward have reached a certain height, but bump up against the resistance of the larger society. The most ethnically radical don't get far, either for themselves or their community. Think of Rap Brown and Jesse Jackson, whose parallels here are the Members of Knesset affiliated with the Arab parties. Anger and a firm anti-establishment posture is the style that earns support within, but assures opposition from others
There is no doubting the intelligence of MK Ahmed Tibi, MD (Hebrew University) and former MK Azmi Bishara, PhD (Humboldt University). Both might have become the equivalents of Barack Obama, or the long-serving Members of the US Congress who reach positions of power that they use to serve their constituents, but both Tibi and Bishara are closer to the models of Americans who raised their fists in behalf of Black power.
Bishara came from the Christian community of Nazareth, and illustrates that Palestinian nationalism is not completely Muslim. He went beyond Israel's tolerance by allegedly supplying military-relevant intelligence to Hizbollah during the 2006 Lebanon War, fled the country to escape prosecution, and became a media personality in Qatar.
While American Blacks vote for politicians who play by the rules of the game, going along with the establishment in order to benefit their constituencies, the Arabs of Israel are more inward looking, and suffer accordingly. Arab citizens of Israel vote for anti-establishment parties, and Arab residents of Jerusalem boycott municipal elections in order to avoid endorsing Israeli occupation.
Even more extreme are the actions taken by residents of Jerusalem neighborhoods against symbols of Israel. Neighborhood residents contribute to their lack of services by stoning fire trucks, ambulances, and garbage trucks, as well as police cars, burning the branch office established by the postal service in Isaweea, burning the ticket machines at the Shuafat station of Jerusalem's light rail, and stoning the trains as they pass..
Most extreme is the Shuafat Refugee Camp. It is within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem as expanded by Israel in 1967, but cut off by the security barrier created as the result of the Intifada that began in 2000.
Jordanians established a camp for refugees on the location prior to the 1967 war. It was to serve several thousand people who had settled in the abandoned Jewish Quarter of the Old City, after leaving their homes in what is now Ashkelon. The current population of the locale is unknown, but variously estimated as between 30,000 and 80,000. UNRWA's responsibility for "refugees" complicates service provision due to UNRWA's own budget limitations, and UNRWA's insistence that it, rather than the Jerusalem Municipality, be in charge. Substantial numbers of non-Jerusalem residents have moved into the area from elsewhere in the West Bank, lack the status of Jerusalem residence, and provided part of the justification for the barrier between the Shuafat Refugee Camp and other areas of Jerusalem.
Due partly to the organizational jealously of UNRWA, as well as Israel's willingness to stay outside of a troublesome area, tens of thousands of residents are in an enclave that is not governed by Israel or the Palestine Authority. Individuals are allowed into Israel through a security facility managed by the Border Police. Inside are piles of trash, a minimum of health care, and UNRWA's education emphasizes the refugee status of children and their aspirations to return where their ancestors (three or more generations ago) lived in what is now Israel.
The security barrier and a narrow valley separate the Shuafat Refugee Camp from the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem. Right on the other side of the barrier are a number of high rise apartment blocks, built quickly and cheaply on what a few years ago had been vacant land. Prices are a fraction of what an apartment of equivalent size would cost in French HIll. Water supply is irregular, often in weak dribbles, due to hundreds of families pirating connections onto one another and overloading the mains that supply water from Israel.
Severe earthquakes have occurred in and near the city. Should there be one, pictures will show huge piles of rubble covering who knows how many victims.
Residents burn tires and other trash. If a motive is to insult Israel, prevailing winds usually keep the pollution within the neighborhood. Family feuds, shootings, and other crime make it dicey for residents to walk the streets.
There are a host of problems associated with a First World country living alongside one of the Third World.
Americans who accuse Israel of limiting opportunities in the West Bank and Gaza, might consider the parallels of the United States and Mexico. The Rio Grande separates cultures no less different than those of Israel and Palestine, and no less dependent on one another's economy. If Israel has some responsibility for Palestine, the US has some responsibility for the internal violence that has ravaged Mexico over the supplying of illegal drugs to the US market. Estimates over 120,000 deaths and nearly 30,000 missing in recent years surpass by far anything that has occurred in Palestine.