Terrorist attacks down; severity of each rises

While this past week there was a slight reduction in the number of terrorist knife attacks against Israelis, we are also seeing a worrying trend with the deadly use of firearms, explosive devices (including car bombs), an uptick in rock and Molotov cocktail throwing against Israeli cars on roads in Jerusalem and the West Bank, the attempted bombing of a Jewish kindergarten, and the participation of another Israeli Arab citizen in the terrorist attack in Beer Sheva this past Sunday.
Also — despite attempts by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and the Palestinian security forces to “lower the flames” — it’s clear now that he is not only losing control over the street and his own Fatah movement leadership in general, but over Hamas and extreme Islamist preachers, both in the West Bank and Gaza, in particular. The rhetoric and incitement, as well as the glorification of the “holy martyrs” who were killed during the attacks, both over the airwaves and through social media, is growing and going viral.
Even ISIS has joined the social media frenzy — with detailed instructions and videos on how to kill “Jews” with a knife.
Here is a partial list of recent events:
Oct. 1: An Israeli settler couple — Eitam and Naama Henkin — were shot dead in front of their four children, including a 4-month-old infant, as they drove in the West Bank. Israel later arrested five Palestinians it said were part of a Hamas cell that carried out the attack.
Oct. 2: Israel deployed hundreds of troops in the West Bank to find those that killed the Henkins.
Oct. 3: A Palestinian stabbed two Israeli men to death and injured a mother and toddler before he was killed by police in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Oct. 4: A Palestinian stabbed and wounded an Israeli teenager before he was shot by police.
Oct. 5: Two Palestinian teenagers were killed in violent protests against Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.
Oct. 7: A 19-year-old Palestinian stabbed a soldier while taking his weapon in the southern town of Kiryat Gat. The suspect then fled into a residential building, where he followed a local woman into her apartment before police forces arrived and shot and killed him.
Also, a Palestinian woman stabbed an Israeli man, who then shot and wounded her. Another Palestinian was wounded by police after he attempted to run over an officer at a West Bank checkpoint, and a Palestinian attacker stabbed an Israeli man outside a mall in central Israel.
Oct. 8: A soldier shot and killed an Arab attacker after he stabbed four people with a screwdriver in Tel Aviv, and two Israelis were injured in separate Palestinian stabbing attacks elsewhere.
Oct. 9: The unrest spread to the Gaza border. Seven Palestinians were killed in violent protests there with Israeli soldiers. A Palestinian was shot and killed after attacking police with a knife in the West Bank.
In an apparent revenge attack, an Israeli stabbed Palestinians and two Arab Bedouins, injuring them in southern Israel.
Oct. 10: Palestinians carried out two stabbing attacks in Jerusalem before being shot dead by police. Two Palestinians were killed near the Gaza border fence in renewed clashes there.
A Palestinian stabbed and injured two Israelis in Jerusalem.
Oct. 11: Two Palestinians were killed in an airstrike that followed rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.
A Palestinian, 13, was killed in clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank.
An Israeli Arab woman stabbed four Israelis in Afula in northern Israel. She was wounded by security forces and captured.
A Palestinian terrorist detonated a gas canister bomb in her car, injuring an officer and herself near Jerusalem.
Oct. 12: Two Palestinian teens stabbed two Israelis, including a teen riding a bicycle, injuring them seriously. One of the Palestinian attackers was killed after rushing at officers with a knife.
A Palestinian attacked a soldier on a bus in Jerusalem before being shot and killed.
Oct. 13: Two armed Palestinian men boarded a bus in Jerusalem and began shooting and stabbing passengers, killing two Israelis, including a 78-year-old grandfather.
Another terrorist rammed a car into a bus station before stabbing bystanders, in near-simultaneous attacks Tuesday. Three Israelis and two attackers were killed. Several other Israelis were injured in the bus attack.
There were also two Palestinian stabbing attacks in the central Israeli city of Raanana that injured five, including one seriously. Emergency services said several of the wounded were in serious condition.
A Palestinian was killed in clashes in the West Bank. The Israeli military said he was shot as he threw a firebomb at a vehicle.
Oct. 19: An Israeli citizen from the Bedouin community entered the central bus station in Beer Sheva with a knife, killed a soldier who was waiting for a bus, took his rifle and started shooting. He managed to wound several people, including security personnel, before he was neutralized and killed.
Unfortunately, during the event an Eritrean citizen, in Israel for work, was mistakenly identified as a “terrorist” by a security guard and was subsequently killed by an angry lynch mob.
Oct. 20: A 57-year-old father and grandfather was on his way to a doctor in the city of Kiryat Arba near Hebron when his car was stoned by Palestinians. He was killed by a passing truck as he got out of his car to check the damage.
While Israel has already taken numerous measures to quell the current wave of violence, more has to be done. This is no longer an issue of who can pray on Temple Mount. It has become a Palestinian national return to their original and ongoing narrative of “throwing the Jews to the sea.”
Israel has the tools and capabilities of stopping it, and as far as I know is now considering which, and in what severity, to use.
Agree or disagree, that’s my opinion.
Lt. Col. (IDF res) Gil Elan is president and CEO of the Southwest Jewish Congress, and a Middle East analyst. Email: gil@swjc.org
Upcoming briefings and SWJC events are listed at: www.swjc.org
DISCLAIMER: Opinions are the writer’s, and do not represent SWJC directors, officers or members.

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