Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims and commemoration of the bestowal of the Koran on Muhammad, is also a month of heightened terror alerts. ISIS has marked this year’s Ramadan, which began on June 19, by perpetrating a trio of attacks in France, Tunisia, and Kuwait.
Though attacks have been less large-scale or “spectacular,” this year’s Ramadan has seen heightened terror activity in Israel as well.
Along with many failed or thwarted attacks, successful attacks on Israelis have included the execution-style fatal shooting of a man hiking in Samaria; the stabbing and serious injury of a border policeman in Jerusalem; the fatal beating by a group of Palestinians of a 70-year-old man in Rehovot in central Israel; the stabbing and wounding of a female soldier, by a female Palestinian, in Bethlehem; and a shooting attack on a car in Samaria that killed one man and wounded three other people.
Ironically, this year’s Ramadan began with conciliatory gestures by Israel, including allowing larger numbers of Palestinians to enter Israel from the West Bank and larger numbers to pray on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. By now, with the spike in terror, most of the gestures have had to be revoked.
Some of these attacks have had a “lone wolf” nature, but one has to use the term advisedly when “lone wolves” are constantly incited by official Palestinian Authority media. (See here, for example, on a PA summer camp with a strong military, destroy-Israel flavor to it.)
As Israeli defense minister Moshe Yaalon described it after the shooting attack on the car, “People are sitting at home during the [Ramadan] holiday, watching TV, and go out to do things.”
Yaalon also said, though, that the fatal shooting attacks in Samaria were actually collaborative efforts, carried out by local Hamas terrorists but with backing from Hamas’s international headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey, and funding from Iran.
A couple of things about this grouping — Palestinian incitement and attacks, Turkish planning, Iranian funding — are notable.
One is that the Palestinians, Turkey, and Iran are among those President Obama has, since taking office, been most eager to propitiate — with dismal results so far, including possible upcoming sanctions relief for Iran that will allow it to channel much greater resources into terror and subversion.
The other is the absence, in that grouping, of Arab states. Indeed, relatively speaking the current period has been one of détente between Israel and Arab states, so that the Palestinians have had to turn elsewhere for backing.
Israel and Sunni Arab states’ common fierce opposition to a possible upcoming bad nuclear deal with Iran is no secret by now, and Israel and Saudi Arabia have even gone public together on the issue. Israel and Egypt, meanwhile, have been in a tacit alliance fighting Hamas and other terror in Gaza, and ISIS and other terror in the Sinai Peninsula.
But it goes beyond common security concerns. Having discovered gas fields off its coast, Israel is on the way to becoming a regional energy superpower. It has already inked major gas-export deals with Egypt and Jordan. Once a military foe of those countries, Israel is — behind the scenes, of course — becoming their crucial energy supplier.
And it goes beyond even energy needs; some of Israel’s neighbors need it for water, too. As in this historic water-supply deal between Israel (the supplier), Jordan, and none other than the Palestinian Authority.
One has to be cautious about “détente” between Israel and Arab states; levels of hatred and delegitimization of Israel remain high in those countries.
But in an era when sheer needs of survival, and possibly the passage of time, have led Arab states toward greater accommodation with Israel, why do the Palestinians — also dependent on its largess — persist in the incitement and terror?
The answer is that, if Palestinian Arabs really have their own national identity distinct from those of other Arabs, its only real content is a self-image as Israel’s victims. And that means the only real national “project” is — still — attacking Israel.
That explains why even conciliatory, respectful gestures by Israel toward Ramadan and Islamic piety have been reciprocated this year by guns and knives.
Anyone — such as France, or the Obama administration — who may be planning yet another major Israeli-Palestinian “peace” bid, with the usual harsh pressures and accusations directed at Israel, should take note. Except that one can safely assume that they won’t.