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Tiny portion of attackers are Israeli-Arabs

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November 24, 2016 23:21

Despite an upswing of violence in East Jerusalem on Tuesday , the attacks on Israeli citizens and security personnel have mainly taken place in the West Bank, particularly in Hebron and south of Jerusalem, in the past two weeks.

The shift in the location of the violence has highlighted the provenance of the attackers. In October, the perpetrators mainly came from East Jerusalem but in recent weeks they have originated mainly in towns with a strong Hamas presence, like Hebron and Tul Karm.

The silver lining is that, despite the fact that over a quarter of the attacks took place within the Green Line, only two of nearly 90 Palestinian attackers have been Arab-Israeli citizens.

This statistic, which is rarely remarked on in public, has come as a great relief to Israeli security officials whose nightmare scenario is a wide uprising that will spread from Jerusalem and the West Bank to the Arab towns and villages within Israel.

So far, despite a number of rather violent protests last month, in solidarity with the Palestinians, this has not happened. This was not a result of any leadership in the Israeli-Arab community - most of its political representatives sat on the fence. The restraining factors are a combination of cultural, political and - particularly - financial motives that are causing many young Israeli-Arabs to desire an accommodation with Israeli society.

They are not about to become Zionists or disregard the inequality that still exists in many aspects of Israeli life, but they accept that Israel is a reality that will not disappear.

In addition, while the authorities are wary of releasing figures, there are cautious reports of a rise in the number of Druze residents of the Golan Heights requesting Israeli citizenship and Bedouin Israelis joining the IDF. A majority of the Golan Druze have until now remained officially loyal to the Syrian regime; but as that country disintegrates and the prospect of Israel ever relinquishing the Golan is exceedingly remote, they are reassessing their options. For the Bedouin, it is the increasing realisation that military service is a path to better integration and improved employment prospects in Israeli society.

None of this means, of course, that Israel is anywhere nearer to solving its deep issues of inequality and mistrust with non-Jewish minorities, but the overall picture is less stark than the wave of stabbings in the past two months suggests.

● On Tuesday, two Palestinian youths stabbed and moderately wounded a security guard in East Jerusalem. On the same day, at Damascus Gate, a man who tried to stab two guards was shot before he managed to reach them, and another attack was foiled at a checkpoint near Abu Dis.

It emerged this week that a soldier known as Corporal T, of the Kfir Brigade's Shimshon Battalion, prevented two terrorist attacks in less than two weeks. In both cases, he shot dead the assailants.

November 24, 2016 23:21

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