In a way my headline is misleading since it should be noted that most of these terror attacks were “minor” – if minor means “only” stone-throwing, stabbings with injuries but no deaths, and other assorted mayhem. On the other hand, if you take into account that there were at least 145 such terror attacks today (or rather, yesterday, Wednesday) then the sheer number becomes almost too overwhelming to absorb.
The major attacks today were:
In the Old City of Jerusalem once again, a female Palestinian terrorist stabbed a Jewish man. But this incident had a happier ending, with the stabbing victim pulling out his gun and shooting the terrorist, while he suffered “only” serious stab wounds.
In the southern Israeli city Kiryat Malachi a Palestinian terrorist jumped a soldier as he alighted from a bus, stole his weapon and tried to shoot. Luckily the soldier adhered to IDF rules and the clip was not inserted into the weapon, thereby rendering it useless for the terrorist. However the attacker then entered an apartment in a residential building, grabbing a kitchen knife and tried to stab the housewife. She fought him off and escaped to a neighbour’s flat. The police arrived and killed the terrorist.
And in Gush Etzion outside Jerusalem, a mob of Palestinian rock-throwers stormed an Israeli car and tried to drag the female motorist out of the car. Another Israeli driver shot in the air and scared the attackers away, or there surely would have been a lynch of the woman driver.
Here is journalist Josh Hasten relating what happened:
To top it all off, even my peaceful little hometown of Petach Tikva was hit by a terrorist who stabbed an Israeli man outside the Kanyon Hagadol shopping mall. The victim was moderately injured and the terrorist was immediately overpowered by passers-by and the mall’s security staff.
Here is the Jerusalem Post live-blog, which is updating almost too fast to keep up with.
And the Muqata’s facebook page has constant updates in English too. Here is the latest (I think…):
Here are some other videos of other attacks which have been taking place around Israel today:
And if anyone should dare comment that the Palestinian “youths” are “only” throwing “stones”, show them this picture:
So how are we Israelis supposed to react to such a wave of terror? How can we cope with the unrelenting updates that are dominating the media, social media, our whatssapp groups and our phone calls?
David Horovitz of the Times of Israel challenges Israel’s establishment who claim everything is under control. Oh no it isn’t under control says Horovitz:
Terror attacks and attempted terror attacks unfolded Wednesday with a nauseating, dizzying frequency.
Throughout the day, too, there were stone-throwing incidents and clashes across the West Bank, with Israelis and Palestinians injured.
Coming in the wake of a series of attacks in recent days in which four Israelis have been killed, Wednesday’s catalog of terror underlined that Israel is emphatically in the midst of a marked escalation.
“The sky hasn’t fallen. It’s under control,” Channel 2’s veteran military analyst Roni Daniel insisted on the evening news, not long after another attack was thwarted in Jerusalem’s Abu Tor neighborhood, … and shortly before news broke of yet one more incident on the Jerusalem-Ma’ale Adumim highway — an apparent attempt by a Palestinian motorist to ram into soldiers at a roadblock.
“The public shouldn’t panic,” Daniel declared, noting that in every case Wednesday, the assailants were stopped and worse harm was prevented.
Far from panicking, some of the Israelis targeted demonstrated extraordinary courage. The Jerusalem victim, stabbed in the back, managed to pull out his gun and shoot his female assailant. In her home in Kiryat Gat, Liat Ohana somehow managed to fend off a Palestinian brandishing a gun.
But Daniel’s assurances notwithstanding, the situation is certainly not under control.
Whether it deteriorates still further may depend on whether the well-armed Fatah Tanzim forces, centrally involved in the Second Intifada under the duplicitous eye of Yasser Arafat, choose to join the terror wave. A Fatah group initially claimed responsibility for last Thursday’s attack in the West Bank in which Naama and Eitam Henkin were gunned down in their car, with their four young sons watching in the back seat. But a Hamas terror cell from the Nablus area, since arrested by Israeli forces, was actually to blame.
As of Wednesday night, Hamas and Fatah were trading accusations and recriminations, Channel 2’s Ehud Yaari said, with Fatah blaming Hamas for trying to set the territories aflame, and Hamas blaming the Palestinian Authority for purportedly turning in the Henkins’ killers to the Israelis.
The Israeli political leadership, meanwhile, was at some odds with the military hierarchy. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and many of his cabinet colleagues blame PA President Mahmoud Abbas for inciting the violence, including by asserting — as Abbas did at the UN last week — that Israel is allowing “extremists” into al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount. […] The IDF’s Intelligence Directorate, by contrast, assessed that Abbas is working to prevent terror attacks and West Bank riots.
Both Netanyahu and the IDF may well be right. When Palestinian political leaders, spiritual leaders, mainstream media and social media constantly warn that the emotive al-Aqsa holy site is in danger, as they have done relentlessly, violence is an almost inevitable consequence. Trying to stop it, when religious passions have been cynically inflamed, and Israeli Arabs from Jaffa, Lod and Nazareth have also begun protesting, is going to be far easier said than done.
Don’t panic? Don’t be complacent.
These doubt-filled sentiments are echoed by Yaakov Lappin in the Jerusalem Post who questions how long Mahmoud Abbas can hold back a new intifada:
Throughout the current wave of violence, and away from public rhetoric, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas continues to be perceived by Israel’s defense establishment as a key restraining factor, though there is concern within quarters of the IDF that Abbas’s ability to hold back a new intifada is growing weaker.
The PA’s security forces are continuing to play a key role in preventing mass rioting on the scale seen more than ten years ago in the West Bank, and most importantly, they have received clear directives from Abbas to repress Hamas and its terror cells wherever they surface. But the ability of security forces to continue to do this may be decreasing.
Currently. Abbas faces two strategic options, one which appears to be inapplicable, and the other undesirable from Abbas’s perspective. The first option, of reaching a diplomatic agreement with Israel, seems out of reach, as far as Abbas is concerned. He does not seem prepared to make his position more flexible under current conditions.
The second option, of unleashing a full-scale third intifada, has been firmly ruled out by Abbas, who fears that such a development will destroy Palestinian society, and remembers the self-harm Palestinians brought on themselves during the second intifada.
The Israeli defense establishment is unsure whether whoever succeeds Abbas will be as firm in ruling out a third intifada.
In his current position, the Palestinian leader is focusing on two goals, one negative and one positive. The first to build up a Palestinian state, including international recognition at the UN. This maneuver is designed to turn the state into an accomplished fact in the international arena. The second goal involves attacking Israel’s legitimacy, and accusing it of being an illegitimate occupier. Together, according to Abbas’s plan, the goals are supposed to create pressure on Israel that will lead it to conclude that the status quo is exacting too high a price.
However, Abbas returned from the UN weakened, and under intense criticism from Palestinian elements.
Now, as a new wave of violence spreads across the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Israel, Abbas will face even more pressure from within.
Despite the new wave of violence, the defense establishment does not compare the current situation to that of the second intifada. In the previous decade, large military forces were needed to enter Palestinian cities like Jenin and Nablus. Today, small forces enter and pluck out wanted security suspects on an nightly basis, often with no injuries to either side.
Israel continues to have good security and intelligence coverage of the West Bank, though it cannot prevent the emergence of every terror cell, or prevent riots and lone attackers.
The question remaining is whether this massive wave of “lone wolf” attackers can still be construed as “lone wolves”. At what stage do a wave of lone wolves become a pack? In the same vein, at what stage does a wave of terror constitute an intifada?