Arab terrorists were busy Monday night attacking Jewish residents of Jerusalem in their attempts to frighten Israelis into leaving the area or avoiding it in the first place.
Thus far, the effort has failed, though some Arabs are continuing their violence nevertheless.
Terrorists Monday night hurled three firebombs at Jewish homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ma’ale Zeitim, known in Arabic as Ras el Amud.
The neighborhood overlooks the Mount of Olives and has been the scene of numerous attacks by Arab terrorists who have tried to dislodge the growing number of Jewish residents moving into the area.
A storekeeper was stabbed on Rehov Malachi in Jerusalem, local sources reported Monday night. He was treated at the scene and then taken to a hospital in the capital where he is reportedly listed in good condition.
Less than an hour later, several Arab terrorists attacked an IDF “pillbox” outpost at the entrance to the Jewish community of Kochav Yaacov, just a few minutes north of Jerusalem.
The terrorists opened fire and launched firecrackers at the military position, some of which ignited a blaze next to a group of soldiers guarding the outpost, and caused a power outage.
The soldiers extinguished the flames. Miraculously no one was injured and no property damage was reported.
Jerusalem Arabs have again attacked the Light Rail as it passed through the northern neighborhood of Shuafat.
The “travel terrorists” threw stones at the rail cars, and also at Israeli public buses and cars as they traveled on the highway passing the neighborhood.
During the night Arab attackers riots at numerous locations in and around the capital.
Among the sites recorded were: the Qalandia and Ras el Amud neighborhoods on the outskirts of Jerusalem, near Rachel’s Tomb; Al Favar in Mount Hebron; El Hader in Gush Etzion; Havara and Azoun in Samaria; and others.
IDF Central Command has deployed the elite special ops ‘Maglan’ unit in Gush Etzion in a last-gasp attempt to avoid the necessity of another complete separation between Jews and Arabs in the region, as happened a decade ago.
The goal: identify potential jihadists before they start their journey to terror and turn them around.
“It is possible to track down and identify a lone terrorist before he has made that final decision to stab or run someone over, and to stop [the attack,] Col. Roman Gofman, Commander of the Etzion Brigade, told the Hebrew-language Ynet news site.
“This requires two things: locating the potential attacker and then putting pressure on him or persuading him not to carry out the attack. Once he has decided to attack it’s very hard to stop him,” Gofman noted, according to the report.
One of the new methods of pressuring potential attackers is that of “targeted closure.” This involves quietly knocking on the door of the targeted individual and then entering the home in the wee hours, before anyone can slip away to the cafe before heading out to work at 3:30 am, when most leave their villages. If it is not possible to enter quietly, IDF soldiers will do what they must, which could include shouting or drawing weapons. But the preferred method is to move quietly, with dignity, in order to carry out an arrest and begin the necessary conversation.
Targeted individuals include those ages 16 to 25 who appear to be seeking attention and perhaps martyrdom along the way, Gofman explains. “Every attacker leaves signs long before they decide to become martyrs. We just need to pick up these signals from every possible source: Shin Bet, social networks and many other things that would point to … a potential attacker.
“In earlier periods terrorists wanted to kill Jews and some were willing to become martyrs for it,” Gofman said. “Now they want to become martyrs and if they can kill a couple of Jews while accomplishing that, then all the better.
“One way or another they are lauded and gain status in Palestinian society. They are the target of incitement from all directions. Lone attacks are a result of vicious cycle whose essence is imitation and inspiration.”
Teens who have already thrown stones and/or firebombs at Israeli vehicles or security forces are arrested and taken into custody. They are then questioned by investigators who also try to persuade them not to repeat their mistakes — not to commit the same crimes once they are released. They are typically sent to jail for a long enough sentence hopefully to deter but not harden them.
Especially for those who have not yet acted and have no criminal file, the IDF discussions with parents and extended family, carried out in fluent Arabic, have often been effective. The explanations about the consequences of their child’s actions can have great influence, according to Gofman.
“Even those who distribute candy after attacks, do not want their sons to commit suicide,” Gofman told Ynet journalist Ron Ben-Yishai. “Most of them are like that. Most of them want to see their child come home from school, or the younger son return home from work, so they are therefore a powerful influence through whom we try to act.”
In eight separate cases overnight Thursday night Israeli motorists found themselves with flying rocks and flaming bottle bombs smashing into their cars — sometimes directly at their windshields.
Arab terrorists carried out at least eight such attacks in different locations in the early hours of Friday morning in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.
Attackers hurled firebombs along southern areas of Highway 60 in Judea. Arab terrorists hurled rocks and firebombs at motorists who drove past the villages of El Aroub, Tubas, Ein Yabrud and Kfar Na’ama.
IDF soldiers searched the area for the perpetrators after several vehicles reported the attacks, and eventually found some of the weapons.
The forces discovered a stockpile of firebombs (Molotov cocktails) and rocks squirreled away for use as ammunition in attacks against Israeli motorists.
Attacks were also reported at the Mount of Olives and the City of David in Jerusalem, and near the Samaria Arab city of Tulkarm as well.
No information was released about damage to property or injuries to travelers.
The Security Cabinet unanimously approved new measures Thursday night against terrorists who hurl stones, firecrackers, fireworks, stun grenades and firebombs (Molotov cocktails) at Israeli civilians and security personnel.
“The security cabinet has decided to authorize police to use live ammunition against people throwing stones and Molotov cocktails when the life of a third person is threatened and no longer only when a police officer is threatened,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.
The cabinet approved the use of .22 Ruger sniper rifles against rioters hurling stones, who endanger others, and live fire in any case in which lives are endangered.
Stiffened penalties include a mandatory minimum four-year prison sentence and a fine for convicted stone-throwers ages 14-18. Also approved was an evaluation of possibly fining the parents of convicted children ages 12 to 14.
“In Israel, these murderous objects won’t be thrown unanswered and without prevention,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu tweeted following the cabinet vote.
However, children under age 12 cannot be held accountable for crimes under current Israeli law. With the rise in terror attacks, there has also been a corresponding escalation in the number of Arab 10 year olds who are being caught throwing stones at Israeli soldiers and police officers as well.
The army soon may be allowed to act like an army and actually fire at terrorists even if soldiers might only be liable to be wounded and not killed.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Security Cabinet Wednesday morning that there will be a re-examination of a recent decision to prohibit soldiers from shooting at rock-throwing and firebombing terrorists unless their lives are in immediate danger.
Since the legal system is finding it difficult to deal with stone-throwing by minors, changing open-fire orders regarding the throwing of stones and firebombs will be examined, as will be the imposition – by law – of minimum sentences for those who throw stones and firebombs.
Stiffer sentences, including several years in prison, for rock-throwers already are on the agenda following an imitative by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.
The issue of minors throwing rocks, intended to kill Israeli drivers either with a direct hit in the face or by causing them to lose control of their vehicles and crash, was highlighted around the world earlier this week with the video of a Palestinian Authority family whose children are “stars” in rock-throwing attacks on soldiers, whose reactions are filmed and edited to portray the children as innocent victims of a big bad army.
The video showed the children and adults punching and beating the soldier, who sat helpless and without even aiming his semi-automatic rifle at them.
Prime Minister Netanyahu did not refer to the most recent “Pallywood” video and instead focused on the increasing number of attacks on Highway 443, the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway that is an alternate to Highway 1 and which also connects the capital with the suburban city of Modi’in.
He told the Security Cabinet:
The policy is zero tolerance for stone-throwing and zero tolerance for terrorism.
That has been said over and over, but the government and military actually have shown 100% tolerance by tying the hands of soldiers trying to defend themselves and civilians.
One young woman told TheJewishPress.com she still is traumatized by an ambush on a vehicle in which she was riding on Highway 60 between Jerusalem and Gush Etzion.
“S. B.” said”
Arabs smashed the back windshield and ambushed our car. An IDF officer at the scene communicated with his superior, who told him not shoot. The officer replied, ‘How am I supposed to defend civilians if I can’t shoot?’
The IDF’s answer earlier this month was not encouraging and was so cowardly that even international media such as Newsweek reported:
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has tightened its rules of engagement for soldiers based in the West Bank in a move one analyst says could embolden would-be Palestinian attackers.
IDF soldiers have been instructed not to shoot at Palestinian suspects unless they pose an immediate threat to life in an updated directive issued by Major General Roni Numa, who is in charge of IDF Central Command….
The new directive clarifies existing IDF rules on opening fire against Palestinians. The rules stipulate that soldiers can only shoot when their lives are threatened—so if an attacker throws a firebomb at soldiers before running away, for example, the soldiers can only shoot in the air, as the attacker no longer poses a threat to forces.
Asaf Day, an Israeli security analyst with Tel Aviv-based consultancy Max Security…said, ‘I think [these measures] will encourage Palestinians to carry out more attacks and I think it has been proven in the past.”
That is exactly what has happened, and the Prime Minister gave clear signs today he will rectify the situation.
He also ordered the examination of several defensive measures, such as increasing lighting and the number of security cameras on Highway 443. In addition, two more Border Police companies and approximately 400 more police officers will be stationed in Jerusalem.
That does not solve the problem in Judea and Samaria, where rock-throwing attacks are so common that they no longer are reported by most media, unless someone is seriously injured or killed. That is similar to the rocket attacks from Gaza. If they “land,” meaning “explode,” in “open areas,” the liberal media might consider it important enough for two paragraphs.
The “turn the other cheek for the sake of ‘peace'” mentality that successive U.S. governments and the European Union have imposed on Israel still prevails in many quarters.
As usual, it takes more violence and injures before the government and the IDF begins to think that maybe, just maybe, soldiers should be allowed to shoot at terrorists, whether they are shooting bullets or throwing rocks.
Netanyahu took the first step today by suggesting that perhaps solders can shoot, even if rocks and firebombs might cause them injuries and not death.
Below the photo, a video shows Palestinian children, starring Shirley Temper.