What are we to make of the fact that no one has taken credit for Wednesday’s bombing in Jerusalem?
Wednesday’s bombing was not a stand-alone event. It was part and parcel of the new Palestinian terror war that is just coming into view. As Israel considers how to contend with the emerging onslaught, it is important to notice how it differs from its predecessors.
On a military level, the tactics the Palestinians have so far adopted are an interesting blend of state-of-the-art missile attacks with old-fashioned knife and bomb-in-the-briefcase attacks. The diverse tactics demonstrate that this war is a combination of Iranian-proxy war and local terror pick-up cells. The attacks are also notable for their geographic dispersion and for the absence thus far of suicide attacks.
For the public, the new tactics are not interesting and the message they send is nothing new. With or without suicide bombers, Israelis understand that we are entering a new period of unremitting fear, where we understand that we are in danger no matter where we are. Whether we’re in bed asleep, or our way to work or school, or sitting down on a park bench or at a restaurant, whether we’re in Rishon Lezion, Sderot, Jerusalem, Itamar or Beersheba, we are in the Palestinians’ crosshairs. All of us are “settlers.” All of us are in danger.
The military innovations are important for IDF commanders who need to figure out how to answer the public’s demand for security. They will have to draw operational conclusions about the challenges this mix of tactics and strategic architecture poses.
While the military rationales of the various Palestinian terrorists are important, like its two predecessors, the new Palestinian terror war is first and foremost a political war. Like its two predecessors, which began in 1987 and 2000, the new terror war’s primary purpose is not to murder Jews. Killing is just an added perk. The new war’s primary purpose is to weaken Israel politically in order to bring about its eventual collapse.
And it is in this political context that the various terror armies’ refusal to take responsibility for Wednesday’s attack in Jerusalem, and their moves to shroud in ambiguity much of the responsibility for their recent terror activity is noteworthy. In the past, Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad were quick to take credit for massacres.
Initially it seemed as though that standard practice was being continued in the newest round of murder. Fatah’s Aksa Martyrs Brigades, for instance, were quick to take credit for the massacre of the Fogel family in Itamar on March 12. Hamas seemed to be competing for credit when its forces held a public celebration of the atrocity in Gaza City on March 13.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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