'Lone Wolf' Attacks

The notion that before us are nothing more than sporadic, isolated undertakings by assorted psychos helps deflect accountability.

The knife used in a stabbing attack near Damascus Gate. (photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
The knife used in a stabbing attack near Damascus Gate.
(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
Presumably every Israelis is expected to take heart from officialdom’s line that the recent spate of terrorist attacks comprises nothing but unforeseeable products of “personal initiative.” Presumably the accumulation of deadly and near-deadly terrorist outrages is nothing but an incidental buildup without a guiding hand pulling strings behind the scenes.
Presumably such learned opinions – from both the military brass and self-appointed experts – are supposed to calm our anxieties.
But those with longer memories will note that such was also the soothing conventional wisdom when the first intifada was at its height and when the second erupted.
Indeed, it is always individuals who carry out attacks, except in the case of bombings – suicide or otherwise – where clearly collusion is required.
“Lone-wolf” reassurances are spurious and geared more than anything else to provide pretexts for both military and law-enforcement higher-ups and for commentators who fail to see what is palpable to the common man.
The notion that before us are nothing more than sporadic, isolated undertakings by assorted psychos helps deflect accountability. Talk about containment rather than active deterrence further helps to avoid responsibility. More than all else, the lone wolf theory is self-serving.
It keeps from public’s attention the ominous context in which these acts are perpetrated. For instance, thousands of Muslim Arabs demonstrated on the occasion of the first Friday of Ramadan at the Damascus Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem several days before the stabbing there of a border policeman. They hoisted placards with photos of “martyrs” and imprisoned terrorists. Israel’s media barely reported this as it systematically ignores disturbances without casualties.
No sooner did the stabbed officer shoot his assailant when screams of support for the terrorist filled the air. Constant prayer vigils are since held at the site for the stabber’s recovery. He has been elevated to the rank of a national hero.
The broad and enthusiastic succor that the purported lone wolves receive in their society reveals them to be anything but lone wolves. The entrenched infrastructure of incitement throughout Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority jurisdiction in itself commissions onslaughts by glorifying and emboldening the perpetrators.
Youngsters grow up in an educational environment that indoctrinates them to regard Jews as “monkeys and pigs.” Mosque sermons are as virulent as Nazi characterizations of Jews were in the 1930s. On top of all that, Abbas’s media whips up fervor nonstop to a fever pitch.
This is public sanction for terrorism.
Instead of engaging in obligatory low-key denunciation of the orchestrated brainwashing under Abbas’s auspices, Israel’s leaders ought to make this their central issue. This should go as far as boldly spurning any foreign diplomatic initiatives so long as Israelis and Jews are dehumanized by their insincere peace-partners and singled out as targets for bloody termination.
There is nothing unpredictable about the recurrent terrorist attacks and they are not entirely unpreventable.
There is no point pretending that the Ramadan zeal coupled with the veneration showered upon homicidal acts – such as the point-blank assassination of student Danny Gonen near Dolev on June 19 – do not inspire copycats to emulate the sadistic examples so exalted everywhere around them. The cries for blood ring in our ears.
Any attempt to downplay the resultant terrorism as a chance accrual of unrelated, inconsequential incidents – especially against the current chaotic and explosive Middle East backdrop – offers no hope of lowering the flames. Not only that: it has every chance of fanning the flames, because it imparts the impression of a hesitant and apprehensive Israel, shy of confrontation and tolerant of smallscale bloodshed.
While on our side the goal is to avoid major confrontation by stomaching attacks of a limited scope or degree, on the other side our tentativeness is interpreted as weakness. In our region the weak get no breaks.
Given the Palestinian daily diet of hate dished out liberally in the school system, mosques, press and broadcast media, our weakness foremost boosts the belligerence of predatory wolves – even of the conjectured lone variety. The Israeli public can afford no delusions about what Abbas willfully encourages against us.