An intifada is breaking out in Jerusalem. Wednesday was its 112th day. It may be a (semi) popular movement but it has long not been spontaneous. The disturbances and continuous attacks on Jews in Jerusalem’s periphery is organized and funded by elements identified with Fatah and Hamas.
Many of the 900 arrested in this intifada enjoy legal defense funded by the Palestinian Authority. The huge number of incidents, more than 10,000, their wide distribution over Jerusalem’s periphery, their nature, the use of “cold weaponry,” such as stones, Molotov cocktails and fireworks — are all reminiscent of the First Intifada.
This time there are no popular resistance committees, but many small organizations that operate on the neighborhood level. They all carry the slogans of a “popular resistance,” preached to them by the Palestinian Authority its president, Mahmoud Abbas. The car attacks, like Wednesday’s, may be on one man acts for which intelligence cannot be gathered, but their inspiration comes from the general atmosphere in the city, the loss of deterrence, the continued riots at the al-Aqsa mosque that police seem unable to put down.
There have also been isolated incidents of gunfire, primarily from Shuafat into Pisgat Zeev, which could be seen as the next stage in the third intifada in Jerusalem and the transition to using guns, which are present in the Arab towns and have stopped only being used for “celebratory gunshots.”
Unfortunately, and belatedly, like in the First Intifada, decision makers are finally starting to see this is not some passing wave of disturbances. Israel Hayom was the first to recognize the phenomenon in three long weekend pieces, and called a spade a spade in a series of opinion pieces (each signed by the writer of these words). Sometimes what is clear to us here is not clear to others over there, and vice versa. In this case, the leaders missed or denied the existence of a developing situation. Either way now they are now beginning to understand.
The Jerusalem light rail must continue operating
Wednesday’s incident, like the never ending torrent of stones thrown at the light rail trains, was intended to chip away at one the frail symbols of coexistence in Jerusalem, and to ignite the volatile normalcy which most Jews and Arabs alike in Jerusalem live in. The light rail has become a litmus test for the sanity and fabric of cooperation [between Jews and Arabs] that the media rarely reports on. It must continue running and serve both the Arab and Jewish neighborhoods.
Those who want to “re-liberate Jerusalem” must understand that sovereignty in all parts of the city, including the most remote Arab neighborhoods, cannot be only defined in a rule book alone, it must be seen in the streets, everywhere, over time, by the renewal of Jewish settlements in all parts of Jerusalem, even if it makes Obama angry.