Parts of Europe, America, Australia, and in other parts of the world, the phenomenon of the “lone wolf” terrorist is a plague on society that is growing.
Disaffected young men carrying out random acts of violence at the instigation of some terror organization located far from the locale of the local terrorist.
Often, the young men are incited by radical imams in local mosques but mostly they are self- taught, finding their cause on their laptops or computers before stepping out of their homes to commit random acts of deadly violence.
While these acts are relatively rare and sudden, in Israel they occur several times a day on a regular basis.
Unlike other countries, these young men are radicalized by a local leadership that the Israeli government is restrained by international pressure from attacking or disbanding.
In Israel’s case, the tsunami of terror is being incited by organizations ranging from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, and from the leadership of the Palestinian Authority.
As a comparison, this would be akin to Britain being infected by daily terror attacks being led by a leadership based in Birmingham, and having the British Government prevented from acting against the source under pain of international condemnation and punishment from the European Union and the United Nations.
The term”intifada” has been used to describe the current wave of Arab violence. Questions are being asked if this is an intifada.
Intifada is an Arab word meaning “uprising” or “shaking off”. It has been used to describe the desire of Palestinian Arabs to drive out the Jews from the land.
The first “intifada” took place between 1987-1993. It was a war of stones as Arabs attacked Israeli soldiers and police with rocks and firebombs. The second Arafat-inspired “intifada” became a widespread attack against all and any Israeli target, mainly civilian, as a prolonged (2000-2003) series of suicide bombings, shootings and car bombs killed hundreds of Israelis. This was put down when Israel launched Operation Defensive Shield, set up checkpoints and road blocks and built a security fence that successfully kept suicide bombers and Palestinian terrorists from reaching central Israel.
The current violence has a stronger religious element to it and this has been orchestrated by the various Palestinian factions. Hamas and Islamic Jihad are strongly Islamic-based so, when Mahmoud Abbas leapt on the Islamic theme that Jews are coming to destroy the Islamic holy places, a competition was lit as to which faction could incite the most violence.
For Hamas, what is going on has nothing to do with Gaza. It has everything to do with them asserting their influence into the West Bank.
It was the Palestinian Authority that purposely provoked the violence in Jerusalem around the Temple Mount, using the Jewish high holy days as an excuse to portray Jews at prayer as trying to take over Muslim holy places. Abbas spoke loudly, including at the podium of the United Nations, highlighting Israeli “crimes,” but they found they were losing control of the Palestinian street that identified itself with other radical elements within Palestinian society.
How did this play out? We saw the spectacle of Muslim women being funded by the Islamic Movement in Israel being bused to Jerusalem to abuse and often use violence to prevent people from visiting the Temple Mount by endangering their personal security.
The women were banned from the Temple Mount but have been allowed to “protest” in the alleyways of the Old City and the approaches to the Temple Mount, where they continue their provocations.
Part of a statement made by the Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, when introducing this ban, became gruesomely poignant days later. “Their activity is inflammatory and endangers tourists, visitors and worshippers at the site, leading to violence that could harm human life.”
Their activities are fully supported by the Palestinian Authority whose leader, Mahmoud Abbas, made provocative statements that the Jews were desecrating Islam’s holy places with their “dirty feet.” This follows the well-worn incitement that the Jews have no heritage or history in Jerusalem, and have no right being there.
Arab violence erupted in Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank. This is what drove a wealthy 19 year old Arab boy to kill.
He was caught up in a false religious cause linked to a nationalist agenda that Jews were defiling Islamic holy places with their dirty feet. This boy did not come from an extreme Muslim family. The insulting incitement of Mahmoud Abbas, together with the daily news coverage of rioting Arab youth, motivated him to take a butcher’s knife and enter the Old City in search of Jews.
He attacked two Jewish families who were returning from prayers at the Western Wall, a place which, according to Abbas, Hamas, and the rest of the Islamic world is being desecrated by Jews. He stabbed one of the men and his wife, then grabbed the man’s gun and began shooting. He succeeded in killing two men, leave a couple of women in critical condition, and injuring others including a two year old baby before he was shot and killed by security forces.
As the badly bleeding wife of one of the murdered men staggered away from the scene of the carnage, with the knife still stuck in her back, she was jeered, spat on and insulted by the banned Muslim women who had taken up positions close to the scene of the terror crime. Several of them screamed at her to die.
There is no differentiating women or children as targets in the fevered mind of a radicalized Palestinian. The three Fogel children were hacked to death in their beds, along with their parents, when Palestinian terrorists broke into their home in Moshav Itamar in 2011.
It was by this village that four small children miraculously avoided death under a hail of bullets when Palestinians mowed down their parents in a drive-by shooting on 1 October. The nine year old son recited Kaddish - the Jewish mourner’s prayer for the dead – at his parent’s graves the following day.
In the hot-headed Middle East environment, the pressure cooker of Islamic religious incitement is easily lit. It spills over onto the streets as the media condemns “Israeli provocations.”
It has all the makings of an “intifada” with incitement from Palestinian leadership that calls on people to use any weapon at hand to strike at the Jewish enemy.
It is acted on by Arabs who wander the streets with their knives, guns or vehicles to kill Jews.
The only difference between what we are seeing today and what transpired fifteen years ago is that recent events have been territorially limited to Jerusalem and the confines of Judea & Samaria.
This is not to say that, if the current outbreak is not capped soon it will not spread to other parts of Israel.
Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israeli Institute for Strategic Studies. He is the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism.’ www.barrysbooks.info