Following Tuesday’s terrorist attack in Be’er Sheva in which a Bedouin high school teacher rammed and stabbed to death four civilians and seriously injured two others, the defense establishment in Israel fears copycat attacks on the part of Israeli Bedouin living inside the Green Line, Kan 11 News reported. The defense establishment is worried about a development similar to the wave of car-ramming that took place in 2016, where Arabs carried out spontaneous terrorist attacks without planning or weapons.
It was also reported that the Shin Bet has been collecting intelligence on Israeli Bedouin suspected of terrorism, and in recent years has identified an increase in Bedouin involvement in terrorist incidents.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority officials clarified on Tuesday evening sent a message to Israeli officials expressing their condolences over the attack – which was better than the response in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas and the Islamic Jihad praised the murders and free candy was given out in the streets in celebration.
The PA officials expressed their concern about the timing of the attack, in a time when efforts are being made to ease tensions on the ground ahead of Ramadan. They shared with their Israeli counterparts that they are worried that further attacks could lead Israel to reconsider its plan to remove restrictions from visiting PA Arabs on the Temple Mount during Ramadan.
Needless to say, the Palestinian Authority did not issue an official condemnation of the attack. But, again, they didn’t give out candy. Progress.
Tuesday’s attacker, Mohammed Ghaleb Abu al-Qi’an, was in prison for security offenses, incitement in support of ISIS, and intent to cross the border and join the terrorist organization in Syria in 2015. He was released from prison in 2019, and it turns out he remained a ticking time bomb. The Shin Bet will have to improve its methods of searching for early signs of new terrorist attacks, which means improving its intelligence inside the Bedouin communities to detect the formation of new cells.
Ramadan starts a week from Friday, on April 1 (for real). On the eve of Ramadan, in March, so far, eight murderous attacks have been carried out, mostly in Jerusalem: in Hizma, the Lions Gate, the Cotton Gate, the station compound, Ras al-Amud, and now in Be’er Sheva. In every one of these attacks, the defense establishment believed the perpetrator was a lone terrorist, imbued with hatred and fueled by incitement, and acting on the spur of the moment.
That’s way too much spontaneity if you ask me.
In the months following last May’s riots, security forces, the police, and the Shin Bet have invested more resources than ever before to carry out more law enforcement operations, but it will take much more than that to produce permanent change, after decades of neglect. Restoring governance in the south and the north of Israel is vital. Establishing a better intelligence network in the Bedouin sector is vital, but even more important is restoring the expectation that crimes will be punished swiftly and harshly. Generations of lax police and local courts have produced contempt on the part of the Bedouin who document themselves breaking the law in broad daylight. It’s time to end all this. Allocating the forces this government is using to destroy Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria to impose better control over the Bedouin population would go a long way to prevent the next “spontaneous” murder spree.