ANALYSIS: Terror Attack in Yerushalayim Brings Next Intifada Closer

Israeli Chief of Police Roni Alsheikh walks at the scene of Wednesday's terror attack near the Damascus Gate on Wednesday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli Chief of Police Roni Alsheikh walks at the scene of Wednesday’s terror attack near the Damascus Gate on Wednesday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Now we are no longer in any doubt. We are there, in the intifada, or very close to it.

The terror attack that occurred at Damascus Gate in Yerushalayim’s Old City on Wednesday afternoon belongs to the latest phase of attacks that began last week. It began at Beit Horon where two terrorists entered carrying nine pipe bombs, and continued on Sunday near Beit El where a Palestinian Authority officer fired his rifle at IDF soldiers at short range.

And the worst now. The attack on Wednesday was carried out by three terrorists, a cell, nothing less. They came armed with rifles, bombs and knives, and intended to use them all, on an entire group of Border police stationed there.

In the end, b’chasdei Shamayim, they were prevented from fully carrying out their plans. Two policewomen spotted them acting suspiciously, asked to see their identity cards, and instead of documents, they pulled out rifles and opened fire on them. Sadly, one policewoman was killed, the other badly wounded. A moment later, other police on the scene opened fire on the terrorists and killed them.

This attack significantly ramps up the level of the current wave. From the very outset, security officials insisted that the difference between a “wave of terror” and an intifada depends on the use of firearms and explosives. As long as the violence is limited to rocks, knives and car rammings, it’s not yet an intifada. Now we’ve reached the stage of rifles and bombs and coordinated assaults. Clear evidence of how far it’s gone.

There is no doubt that this last attack was organized and thought out beforehand. Even if the three perpetrators have no prior criminal record, someone organized them. Brought them from northern Shomron to Yerushalayim, supplied them with weapons, bombs and knives, and directed them as to where exactly to attack.

This is no longer the act of a Palestinian youth incited by social media who grabs a knife from his mother’s kitchen and goes out to stab the first Jew he finds. This was terrorist violence well-planned, reminiscent of the second intifada.

Anyone who continues to talk about “lone-wolf” terrorists is out of touch with reality. He is burying his head in the sand.

Israeli security forces guard at the scene of Wednesday's attack. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli security forces guard at the scene of Wednesday’s attack. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The IDF and the security forces are assessing the situation correctly, and understood that after Beit Horon and Beit El, a more effective response was required, and that came in the form of the closure on Ramallah.

If the closure had remained in place, many Palestinians would have understood that they had gone too far. But the civilian state of Israel pressured the military of Israel, and in less than twelve hours the closure was lifted. The Palestinians saw in this hesitation and irresoluteness, and on Wednesday they raised the fires of terror another degree.

It is clear where we are headed. And in the face of these latest developments a substantial Israeli response is called for. But the government is not doing what is incumbent upon it, and so essentially invites the next major terror attack, which will include all that we have seen so far, and something more.

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