On Friday, Israeli police apprehended four of the six Palestinian prisoners who had escaped from prison a few days earlier. They reportedly sought shelter and food in Arab villages, but the locals were unwilling to help them, and in fact assisted in their capture. Although the past few days have seen rocket fire from Gaza, and stabbing and shooting attacks from the West Bank, there has been no outbreak of mass demonstrations—contrary to the grim expectations of Israeli security officials, who feared a repeat of the rioting in Arab communities last summer. Aaron Lerner writes:
When [the] terrorists escaped from an Israeli prison Islamic Jihad called for Israeli and Palestinians Arabs to take to the streets to interfere with efforts to recapture them. The grand total of Palestinians across all of Judea and Samaria who answered the call of Islamic Jihad numbered well less than a thousand, with the largest incident accounting for half the total. Only around ten Arabs were seen chanting their support at al-Aqsa mosque after Friday prayers.
As for Israeli Arabs, when four of the terrorists were recaptured thanks to Israeli Arabs who tipped off the police, we learned that the terrorists couldn’t find any Israeli Arab who was willing to help drive them across the Green Line [into Palestinian-controlled territory].
Why did the security experts get it so wrong? I suspect that they took the terrifying riots earlier this year as their model. But, apparently, there is a key difference between the two situations. The rioting took place because the people on the streets bought the line that “al-Aqsa is in danger.” The escape of six terrorists had nothing to do with al-Aqsa.