This is part of the same pattern inspired by Islamic State, by ISIS, that we saw first in France, then in Germany and now in Jerusalem.
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) January 8, 2017
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today claimed that the Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem who plowed a truck into a group of Israeli soldiers, was affiliated with Isis. Netanyahu offered no proof of the Isis claim and it should not be given any credit. He appears to seek to link Palestinian terror attacks with attacks in Europe by those inspired by ISIS. Such linkage would, he believes, inspire sympathy for Israel in the world community and link it to the general revulsion that the West feels towards such attacks.
However these assaults, as reprehensible as they are, are not inspired by ISIS. Rather, they are inspired by long-standing Palestinian grievances against Israeli Occupation. There is no known ISIS presence in either the West Bank or Gaza. There is rumored to be a Salafist group in Gaza engaging in attacks meant to compete with Hamas. However this group is marginal at best.
A confidential Israeli security source wrote to me: “We have clues that the terrorist lately became close to the Salafi ideology, so we do suspect it’s a ‘lone wolf’ attack inspired by similar attacks in Europe.” However, absent any more detailed account of what the “clues” are and how they define “Salafi ideology,” and how it is connected directly to ISIS, I prefer to remain highly skeptical. Especially considering Netanyahu’s proclivity to lie at the drop of a hat, even when the truth is a better option.
The bus that was attacked was carrying soldiers who were about to take a historical tour of occupied Jerusalem. This is part of an ideological indoctrination in which soldiers are taught about the 1967 Israeli conquest of Jerusalem and the realization of centuries of religious longing for “Redemption” of the Holy City.
Armon HaNatziv was one of the first strategic victories in the Israeli 1967 conquest of Jerusalem. As such it carries a historical significance which the IDF seeks to instill in new recruits.
This, of course, does not justify the murders. However, it does place them in the context of a 70 years struggle by Palestinians for their own national rights. A struggle which Israel has resisted and rejected at every turn. Not to mention that Israel’s massive attacks on Palestinians, which have killed tens of thousands over the decades, many of them civilians, are viewed as state terror by Palestinians.