Yesterday, an Israeli was stabbed at the tomb of the patriarchs in Hebron. The night before, a Palestinian mob destroyed the shrine known to Jews as the tomb of Joseph. On Thursday, a Palestinian opened fire at a bar in downtown Tel Aviv, killing three and wounding several others—of whom six remain in the hospital as of yesterday morning. These attacks were just the latest in a spate of stabbings, shootings, and car-rammings throughout Israel, most of which were foiled, and some of which proved deadly. Udi Dekel points to the causes of this uptick in bloodshed, and Jerusalem’s efforts to combat it:
We are in the midst of a murderous terror campaign, whose main orchestrator is Hamas in close coordination with Palestinian Islamic Jihad; four coordination meetings have recently taken place in Beirut between Salah al-Aruri—in charge of Hamas’s military operations in the West Bank, and Ziyad a-Nahala—general-secretary of Islamic Jihad. The purpose of this campaign is to unite the fronts of the Palestinian struggle against Israel into a comprehensive arena and encompass the activities of the various factions. At the same time, this deployment aims to increase and to accelerate the undermining of Palestinian Authority control over the West Bank, as is evident in the Jenin area, which is controlled by terrorist elements.
In recent months, Hamas has run an intensive incitement campaign, especially in advance of Ramadan—a time when religious and national sentiments are heightened—targeting Palestinian youth and adults alike, . . . regardless of their organizational affiliation. The campaign encourages self-sacrifice in the name of a sublime religious-national goal, and it is supposed to be the first in a three-stage escalation: the first one, shooting attacks by individuals in Israeli cities, has so far been noticeably successful. The second involves igniting Jerusalem and the West Bank following the success of the attacks and due to Israel’s [expected] harsh response.
The third [stage] is conditioned on the success of the second phase and on Israel’s response—widespread escalation in the West Bank and Jerusalem will give Hamas legitimacy to provoke a confrontation with Israel, through rocket and missile launches from the Gaza Strip.
Israel, for its part, is pursuing policies and actions designed to disrupt the Hamas plan. The government is acting wisely as it seeks to separate the Palestinian population in the West Bank from the terrorists in its midst and allow the Palestinian public as much of a routine as possible, including adhering to its intention of providing relief [from restrictions on travel and so forth] during Ramadan.