Big Picture Shows Tranquility Despite 2 Isolated Killings of Israeli Soldiers

Palestinians Keep Lid on Violence With Peace Deal in Mind

Grim Ritual: Stony-faced soldiers mourn an Israeli comrade shot dead in Hebron. Despite the angst, Israelis must understand the facts show violence is way down.
getty images
Grim Ritual: Stony-faced soldiers mourn an Israeli comrade shot dead in Hebron. Despite the angst, Israelis must understand the facts show violence is way down.

By J.J. Goldberg

Published September 26, 2013, issue of October 04, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

The three deaths from West Bank terrorism in 2013 follow a year, 2012, in which nine Israelis were killed, all in attacks originating from Gaza or Sinai, none from the West Bank.

Those numbers need qualification. While there were no fatal attacks on the West Bank in 2012, the Israel Defense Forces website shows numerous non-fatal attacks: 15 shootings, 642 firebombings and 4,731 rock-throwing incidents. Many more attacks were thwarted.

But these numbers are a fraction of what Israel suffered during serious terror waves, including the First Intifada from 1988 to 1993 and the blood-soaked Second Intifada from 2000 to 2005. The reason, as Israeli security officials repeatedly tell a disbelieving Knesset, is some seven years of successful Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation.

This fact is uncomfortable for the Israeli right, which works hard to keep the memory of the terror years fresh. If Palestinians are shown to be a band of irredeemable terrorists, then Israel can’t grant them independence — and thus must keep control of the biblical heartland in Judea and Samaria.

One result of this dissonance is the periodic dark comedy of military and Shin Bet leaders testifying in Knesset that terrorism is down because of Israeli-Palestinian cooperation and being told by angry lawmakers that, no, it is all thanks to you military and Shin Bet guys.

What’s the difference who’s responsible? According to current Shin Bet director Yoram Cohen, addressing Israeli diplomats in Jerusalem last January, Abbas is very much in command of his security apparatus. His goal is a peace agreement with Israel. But he needs to show progress, so his security efforts don’t brand him as a collaborator. Warnings have been sounded for years that if Palestinian statehood isn’t on the horizon, cooperation will break down. And then all hell will break loose.

But Netanyahu does the opposite. Settlements keep growing, squeezing the land available for a Palestinian state. Last November, in retaliation for Abbas’s U.N. statehood bid, he froze the transfer of tax revenues that Israel collects for the Palestinians. Salaries weren’t paid. Abbas’s security forces couldn’t pay their grocery bills. Following the latest killings, Bibi ordered the opening of a hotly disputed Hebron building to settler occupancy.

Abbas feels the heat, as he made clear that Monday at the Plaza. “Some people have lost their hope of a two-state solution because they see settlements everywhere,” he said. “They criticize me for negotiating with the Israelis. But I gave my word.”

“I am not doing Israel a favor,” Abbas said. “I am doing it for my own people. If I did not have hope, you would not see me here.”

Contact J.J. Goldberg at goldberg@forward.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.