Home World News In Israel, terrorism revives an almost forgotten conflict

In Israel, terrorism revives an almost forgotten conflict


The city of Bnei Brak, a suburb of Tel Aviv, is one of the densest in Israel. It is also one of the centers of ultra-Orthodox life, where it is not uncommon to hear passers-by conversing in Yiddish. Here, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict exists in the press, and perhaps sometimes in trips to Jerusalem.

→ THE FACTS. Israel: At least five dead in attacks near Tel Aviv

The attack that occurred on the evening of Tuesday, March 29 therefore created the effect of a bomb. It lasted ten minutes in all: on the amateur videos that were released almost immediately, we see a young man dressed in black walking down a street with a gun in his hand. He hesitates, shoots, misses once or twice, finally kills five people, including two Ukrainian immigrants and an Arab policeman.

A first in six years

This is the third such attack in less than a week in otherwise quiet Israeli towns. They claimed eleven victims, including eight civilians, two gendarmes and a policeman. While the first two were committed by men associated with Daesh, Bnei Brak striker Diaa Hamarsheh, 26, had nothing to do with the organization. An activist of Fatah, the party of Mahmoud Abbas, in one of its armed branches, he had apparently worked on a construction site in the city, coming illegally through one of the many holes in the fence that separates Israel from the West Bank.

In all three cases, the assailants, four in all, were killed. It had been at least six years since an attack like this had happened. There had never been so many deaths on the Israeli side in such a short time since the second Intifada (2000-2005).

Avoid further violence

The attacks were met with cautious jubilation among Palestinians. In Hamas, the attackers were congratulated, believing that this was “the natural consequences of the crimes of the occupation”. Other movements, more in the minority, have chosen the same approach. Hamas nevertheless decided to move the demonstrations that are usually held on the border with Israel on March 30, Land Day, during which Palestinians commemorate the expropriation of their lands, to the seafront. The Islamic movement does not has no interest in a return to violence in the coastal enclave.

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→ ANALYSIS. In Israel, the threat of the Islamic State resurfaces

Everywhere in the region, one senses a desire to bring order. Israeli President Isaac Herzog was in Amman on Wednesday, two days after a visit by King Abdullah to Ramallah. The Hashemite kingdom, also facing a rise in Islamic radicalization, wants to avoid violence in Jerusalem that could cross the Jordan. Everyone expected, like last year, clashes around the holy month of Ramadan, which begins on Saturday and coincides with Passover and Easter. Individual attacks are easy to execute and effective, but difficult to predict. “Israelis’ sense of individual security has been violently bruised” sums up military analyst Amos Harel.

The Fatah side of Mahmoud Abbas, in power in Ramallah, on the contrary condemned “the killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians (who) only leads to more violence”. To stem this cycle, “a just, permanent and complete peace is the shortest path to security and stability”, add movement.

A fragile political environment

During these almost two decades, there was no progress towards a political solution, as settlements continued to expand. The Israeli surveillance system has become more and more sophisticated, and its cooperation with the Palestinian Authority closer. the spoke draws what little national legitimacy he has left from his relations with Israel, and from the international community, which only accepts him as the representative of the Palestinian cause. In Jenin, Nablus and Hebron, Ramallah’s power disturbs more than it nudges, disappoints more than it inspires.

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The Israeli hard right is now calling for extraordinary measures. In the short term, they could win their case, given the fragile political environment in which the current coalition navigates. When Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid came to power last summer, they did so with the idea that the conflict could be reduced through economic reform. The Negev summit held this week, which coincided with the second attack, was, in a way, the agreement of the Arab powers to this policy: normalization without the need to address Palestinian grievances.


Eleven dead in one week in Israel

The attack on Tuesday, March 29near Tel Aviv, left five dead: two Israeli Jews (Rabbi Avishai Yehezkel, 29, and Yaakov Shalom, 36), two Ukrainian workers aged 24 and 36, whose identities have not been uncovered but who had been living in Israel for years, and an Arab Israeli policeman, Amir Khoury, 32, who took part in the operation to kill the assailant.

March 27in Hadera, in the north of Israel, two police officers, including a Franco-Israeli, were killed in a shooting claimed by Daesh.

March 22in Beersheba, in the south, two Israeli women and two Israeli men were killed in a stabbing and car-ramming attack carried out by a Bedouin teacher sentenced in 2016 to prison for planning to go to Syria to fight with Daesh.

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