Over a month of anti-Israeli violence in East (Arab) Jerusalem has led to several hundred arrests and Palestinian leaders (especially from Fatah and Hamas) encouraging more of it and praising those who kill Israelis. The casual violence (rock and fire bomb throwing) against Israelis has been going on for a long time. Most of this (nearly a hundred attacks a week) takes place in the West Bank, where Israeli security forces do not crack down as effectively as they do inside Israel. Israelis living in the West Bank have been striking back, with about eight attacks a week. Israeli police will use lethal force if an attacker is using a weapon (like a fire bomb) that will likely seriously injure or kill someone. For example, throwing a fire bomb at a vehicle can get you shot. Police also pursue offenders more effectively inside Israel, making it far more risky to throw things at people and vehicles. Despite that, these attacks are becoming more frequent in East Jerusalem. The dispute here is over Israeli claims that Jerusalem is (as it was in antiquity) the capital of Israel. Palestinians insist that Jerusalem belongs to them and is the capital of a non-existent Palestinian state.
A lot of this latest anti-Israel violence has been triggered by violent encounters in and around the al Aqsa mosque (which is just above the Wailing Wall, a popular Jewish holy place and tourist attraction) in Jerusalem. The last time the violence got out of hand was in 2010 when Palestinians threw stones at people below. The Palestinians were protesting Israeli settlers and Israeli policies in general. This happens periodically, even though Israeli security forces try to keep Palestinian troublemakers out of al Aqsa. Israeli police sometimes have to go into al Aqsa to deal with these disturbances before they lead to serious injuries. This usually results in even more violence before the police can haul everyone out. This is then denounced as an Israeli atrocity against Palestinians and Islam.
It’s not just about al Aqsa. The Palestinians feel it is a religious obligation to attack Jewish religious shrines everywhere (especially in the West Bank where some are also Islamic holy places.) This attitude is common throughout the Islamic world but especially among Arabs. Another irritation for Moslems is Israelis who call for the rebuilding of the ancient Jewish temple, which originally occupied the post where the al Aqsa mosque was built. Even calling for allowing Jews to worship on the temple mount is considered anathema.
The problems with al Aqsa are not unique. Moslems frequently built mosques on the ruins of places where other religions had temples or even religious shrines. This still causes resentments, and sometimes violence (as in India where many mosques were built where Hindu temples originally were.) This sort of thing is an ancient practice and many Christian churches are built on the sites of older temples. The difference is that there is no problem when there are no more followers of the religion whose temple sites were built on. Moslems did destroy some religions during their conquests, and still want to wipe out Hinduism and even Judaism (which is supposed to be respected, according to Moslem scripture). This institutional antagonism against other religions is a root cause of most of the religious violence involving Moslems. Many in the West are either ignorant of this or would prefer that is was not true and deny it. But anyone reading the mass media in Moslem nations gets the “kill the non-believers” message loud and clear. While leaders of most Moslem majority nations realize that this hatred is not a sane basis for foreign policy, they still have to show support for it at home, while trying to be nice to foreigners, especially more powerful ones.
Israel has been dealing with this hatred since before the current state of Israel was created in 1948. Back then the Arab states declared that Israel had no right to exist and most Arabs still believe, and sometimes act, on that belief. Israel deals with the resulting violence by Moslem civilians by imposing more restrictions on the Palestinians until the violence subsides. Arabs, in particular, declare these methods as war crimes and demand that Israel be punished. This consumes a lot of time and effort in the UN, where Arab oil money has made it lucrative for non-Moslem states to go along with these poisonous passions.
In Egypt the security forces are having a difficult time suppressing the Islamic terrorism in northern Sinai. There, 82 people have been killed by Islamic terrorists in the last two months. Most (75 percent) have been soldiers or police, the rest civilians. Even more Islamic terrorists have died but the presence of unhappy Bedouins and a terrorist sanctuary in Gaza keeps the violence going. Since the anti-government unrest began in 2011 nearly a thousand have died because of the Islamic terrorist violence. Most (68 percent) have been soldiers or police, the rest civilians. Nearly 2,000 Islamic terrorists have died. The violence had been decreasing, until an uptick in the last few months.
November 5, 2014: In Jerusalem there was another terrorist attack featuring a Palestinian driving a vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians. One of the victims died and 13 were injured. The attacker got out of his vehicle after hitting the crowd and continued going after the victims with an iron bar. A policeman showed up and shot the attacker dead. The attacker was identified as a Palestinian who had recently been released from jail for similar anti-Israeli violence. Palestinian leaders praised the dead man, who had some connection with Hamas, as a hero for all Palestinians. Meanwhile, in the West Bank a similar vehicle attack was carried out against Israeli soldiers, injuring three of them. The driver sped away and the police are looking form him and his vehicle. This is the third such attack in the last three months and more are expected.
In northern Egypt (Menouf) a bomb went off at a train station leaving five dead.
November 1, 2014: Israel has shut down the two main crossings from Gaza to Israel for security reasons. Meanwhile two Palestinians were caught on the Israeli side of the Gaza security fence. The two were apparently not terrorists but the investigation continues.
October 31, 2014: For the second time since the August 26 ceasefire with Hamas a rocket fired from Gaza landed in Israel. There were no injuries or damage.
October 29, 2014: In Jerusalem a Palestinian attempted to kill (by shooting him four times in the chest) a rabbi who advocated allowing Jews to pray on the temple mount, where the al Aqsa Mosque is but where the ancient Jewish temple used to be. Most Moslems oppose this and praised the attempt on rabbi Glick. Islamic terror groups later put on the Internet pictures and names of fourteen other prominent Jews who advocate Jews praying on the temple mount. The Islamic terrorists called for these men to be attacked as well. Some Jews also call for tearing down al Aqsa and rebuilding the Jewish temple but the Israeli government has always rejected this. The Palestinian who tried to kill the rabbi was hunted down by police the next day and shot dead after the police were fired on. He is being hailed as a hero by Palestinian and Arab leaders.
The new Fatah-Hamas unity government in Gaza began issuing back pay to some 24,000 civil servants (hired by Hamas) who have not been paid for as much as a year because Hamas had run out of money. The cash for this was provided by Qatar, which has long been a supporter of Hamas and other Islamic terrorist groups.
October 28, 2014: In Egypt (northern Sinai) Egyptians living within 300 meters of the Gaza border have been ordered to leave their homes immediately, taking their possessions with them. At least 10,000 Egyptians were displaced by the order. The army is setting up a 13.8 long security zone along the Gaza border that will eventually be 500 meters wide. This is in order to detect and destroy smuggling tunnels. To make it even more difficult for tunnel builders the security zone will feature a 40 meter (128 foot) wide and 20 meter deep ditch from the Mediterranean inland. This ditch will be filled with salt water from the sea and make it even more difficult to build tunnels because the water will seep down deeper and make it more expensive to tunnel beneath it. This and the new detection methods will also force the tunnels to be dug deeper and all this will make it more expensive to use the tunnels. Most Egyptians in northern Sinai are anti-tunnel because the tunnels are basically run by gangsters and Islamic terrorists, two groups that are seen causing more trouble for the locals. All these anti-Gaza measures are a response to a recent terror attack against Egyptian soldiers that left 31 soldiers dead and Egyptians in general very angry. In addition to the security zone, the Egyptians declared a three month long state of emergency and curfew in northern Sinai. Egypt blames Hamas for much of this violence because Hamas tolerates the presence of these anti-Egypt Islamic terror groups in Gaza and lets them use the smuggling tunnels to move between Egypt (where they stage attacks) and Gaza (where they are safe from Egyptian retaliation). Even before the security zone decision Egypt had detected hundreds more tunnels using satellite based sensors and new ground based search procedures. The 500 meter security zone will make most of the current tunnels useless and force the tunnel operators to dig deeper into Egypt.
October 27, 2014: In Egypt (northern Sinai) police raids on several Islamic terrorist hideouts resulted in four terrorists being killed and ten arrested. This led to the seizure of many weapons, along with ammo and bomb building materials as well as three vehicles.
October 26, 2014: In Egypt (northern Sinai) police caught up with some of the men involved in the checkpoint attack on the 24th. Acting on tips from civilians, police located a house where the men were hiding and were fired on when they approached the house. In the subsequent battle the two Islamic terrorists were killed.
October 25, 2014: Israel was awarded a $525 million contract to deliver 8,000 Spike anti-tank guided missiles and 300 control units to India. The main competitor for this contract was the American Javelin missile.
October 24, 2014: In Egypt (Sheikh Zuweid in northern Sinai) an elaborate attack on an army checkpoint (using bombs and RPGs) killed 31 soldiers. Egyptian investigators blamed a Palestinian Islamic terrorist group (Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis) based in Gaza. The Egyptians also believe Hamas, or members of Hamas, assisted the attackers. Hamas denied this and insisted that there were no more tunnels operating between Gaza and Egypt. The Egyptians continue to find and destroy tunnels, having done so with nearly 1,900 tunnels so far.
Elsewhere in Sinai (al Arish) another attack on a checkpoint left three soldiers dead.
October 22, 2014: In Jerusalem there was a terrorist attack featuring a Palestinian driving a vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians. Two people died (a Jewish infant and a 22 year old woman from Ecuador). The attacker tried to escape but police shot him dead before he could get away. The attacker had been a known Palestinian anti-Israel activist. There are many such Palestinians, but they usually confine their activities to throwing rocks and fire bombs that do not kill people.
The head of the national police announced that a special police unit was being formed to deal with the growing terrorist violence in Jerusalem.
In the south, near the Egyptian border, Israeli troops intercepted some smugglers and the smugglers fought back, some of them firing from inside Egypt. Two Israelis were wounded before the smugglers broke and ran. Two of the attackers were later found and arrested and Israeli investigators are trying to find out why the smugglers tried to defeat the Israeli patrol. This had never happened before, mainly because it is suicidal. The Israeli troops are connected to a battlefield Internet type system that instantly alerts headquarters and other Israeli troops nearby when there is an incident like this and the smugglers cannot hope to withstand the Israeli reaction. Egyptian police responded to the noise and clashed with what they believe were the smugglers who fired on the Israelis. The Egyptians killed three of the smugglers but the rest were able to escape into the night.
In southern Egypt (Minya) a policeman was killed in a drive-by shooting.
October 21, 2014: Israel revealed that they knew (earlier this year) of Hamas plans to use tunnels into Israel to launch a major terror attack on Israel during the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), which took place on September 26th this year. All fourteen of the tunnels for the attack were not completed when Israel and Hamas went to war in July over other issues and this enabled Israel to enter Gaza and deal with the entrances as well as the exits for the tunnels. Israel also captured a lot of the planning documents and some of the people involved. Over 200 Palestinians were trained to use the tunnels to get into Israel, killing as many Israelis (from villages along the border) as possible and get back to Gaza with some Israeli (preferably soldiers) captives.