EVERY DAY that has passed in the latest round of violence in Jerusalem, the West Bank and within Israel’s pre-1967 borders, has brought new suggestions from politicians, the media and security experts on how to curb the terror attacks.
The one thing they all have in common is that none offer a feasible solution, because — as most senior officers in the IDF and Shin Bet admit — there is little that can be done to prevent the most prevalent kind of attack currently being carried out: sporadic stabbings and, in a few cases, shootings by individuals apparently acting of their own accord.
The Israeli military operations in the latter stage of the Second Intifada, which petered out in 2004, succeeded in decimating the military structure and hierarchies of the various Palestinian organisations, particularly Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
In their place came increasingly efficient co-ordination between Israel’s forces and the Palestinian Authority’s security apparatus, which was funded and trained by the United States and Europe.
Between them they largely kept the calm in the West Bank and prevented rival Palestinian groups from rebuilding their operational cells. As a result, when violence has returned, it has almost always been “popular”, carried out by individuals, or at the most groups of two or three attackers with no external support.
After the shooting murder of Eitam and Naama Henkin in the heart of the West Bank a fortnight ago, some ministers called for a second Operation Defensive Shield, like the one ordered by Ariel Sharon in 2002 after a par- ticularly horrendous round of suicide bombings.
But such an operation is simply not realistic in 2015, when there are no longer active strongholds of the Palestinian armed movements in the West Bank to attack.
As the realisation has sunk in of how many of the current attacks are being driven by online incitement, there have been calls to crack down on virtual encouragement of violence.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the Justice Ministry to prepare a case for outlawing the Islamic Movement — the main body agitating over Temple Mount.
Other Israeli politicians called to put the movement’s leaders in administrative arrest. However the consensus within the legal community is that it will be hard to defend such a move. The Islamic Movement has been careful not to engage in illegal activity or directly call for violent acts.
Israeli security forces stand guard in front of the Damascus Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City