The frame­work is crum­bling

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY ANSHEL PF­EF­FER

AS NOON drew near on Wed­nes­day, Is­raelis cau­tiously whis­pered to each other, anx­ious not to tempt fate or the evil eye.

Twenty-four hours had passed with­out a terror at­tack any­where in the coun­try. Per­haps things were be­gin­ning to calm down.

But even if Mon­day and Tues­day — which saw two si­mul­ta­ne­ous at­tacks in Jerusalem, in­clud­ing shoot­ings in a bus, ve­hi­cle ram­ming, stab­bing and ax­ing, to­gether killing three Is­raelis and in­jur­ing many oth­ers — proved to be the peak of this round of vi­o­lence, it was clear some­thing fun­da­men­tal had changed.

Be­fore and af­ter the Jerusalem at­tacks, Pales­tini­ans stabbed and wounded five civil­ians in two sep­a­rate at­tacks in the nor­mally peace­ful Tel Aviv sub­urb of Ra’anana. The per­pe­tra­tors in all the cases were young men from East Jerusalem.

Is­raeli se­cu­rity of­fi­cials are frank in as­sess­ing the sit­u­a­tion and ad­mit­ting that de­spite de­ploy­ing of hun­dreds more sol­diers and po­lice of­fi­cers to Jerusalem and other cities, road­blocks at the ex­its from Pales­tinian neigh­bour­hoods and in­creased vig­i­lance on all fronts, their op­tions are lim­ited.

There is lit­tle that can be done to pre­vent a teenager, with no prior con­nec­tions to terror or­gan­i­sa­tions, who de­cides to risk his life, draw­ing a knife and try­ing to stab Is­raeli cit­i­zens.

Clos­ing eastern Jerusalem, as some — in­clud­ing Mayor Nir Barkat — have de­manded, is al­most un­fea­si­ble and would be ru­inous to the city’s econ­omy.

Even if a lull is around the cor­ner, it will take very lit­tle to send the sit­u­a­tion spi­ralling out of con­trol once again.

The pro­pa­ganda on of­fi­cial Pales­tinian media de­scrib­ing those who mur­dered Is­raelis as “he­roes” and “mar­tyrs”, just like their con­spir­acy the­o­ries on Jewish plans to de­stroy the Al Aqsa mosque, cer­tainly come un­der the cat­e­gory of “in­cite­ment”.

But to say that this is alone what is mo­ti­vat­ing younger Pales­tini­ans to carry out these at­tacks is a mis­read­ing of the sit­u­a­tion.

These young­sters have dozens of other web­sites and tens of thou­sands of Face­book pages where they re­ceived such mes­sages, long be­fore the Pales­tinian Au­thor­ity’s chan­nels cot­toned on to the public mood.

As it is, they have lit­tle trust in the of­fi­cial lead­er­ship. Baha Alaan, one of the two Pales­tini­ans who car­ried out the shoot­ing at­tack on the num­ber 78 bus in Jerusalem’s Ar­mon Hanet­ziv neigh­bour­hood on Tues­day, tweeted be­fore em­bark­ing on the rampage that “the (Pales­tinian) Au­thor­ity doesn’t de­cide when things calm down”.

Al Aqsa and events around the Tem­ple Mount will re­main both po­tent sym­bols and po­ten­tial flash- points, but the deeper causes for the ever-closer cy­cles of vi­o­lence are a gen­eral break­down of trust be­tween the Is­raeli and Pales­tinian lead­er­ships and be­tween Pales­tinian lead­ers and their peo­ple.

Se­nior Is­raeli of­fi­cers have been warn­ing for five years that the sta­tus quo would not last and that at some

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