FOUNDATION FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES - Flash Brief - JAN 29, 2023
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his Security Cabinet on Saturday to authorize ramped-up counter-terrorism measures following two Palestinian shooting attacks in east Jerusalem. In the bloodiest incident since the 2008 Jerusalem attack in which a terrorist murdered eight yeshiva students, a gunman killed seven people outside a synagogue in the capital’s Neve Yaakov neighborhood following Shabbat evening prayers; police shot him dead during a brief pursuit.
The following morning, a 13-year-old Palestinian shot and wounded two Israeli passers-by in the Silwan/City of David district, and was hit by their return fire and taken into custody. On Saturday night, a Palestinian terrorist opened fire at a restaurant near Jericho, but only succeeded in firing one shot before his gun jammed; he then fled the scene. No injuries resulted.
“The prospect of a cascade into conflict after a dramatic Israeli raid on a terrorist hideout in the West Bank city of Jenin on Thursday and an exchange of Hamas rocket fire and Israeli air strikes over the Gaza border on Friday will no doubt preoccupy U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken when he visits the region on Monday and Tuesday. The Jerusalem terrorist attacks were met with commendable condemnation in much of the West. Blinken’s visit on Friday is a chance to drive home the message that these attacks are part of a long line of terrorist outrages that makes it increasingly impossible for there to be peace.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD Chief Executive
“Blinken should make clear to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who, predictably, has sought to blame the bloodshed squarely on Israel, that Abbas is complicit in these attacks because of his incitement to violence, his payments to terrorists and their families, and his unwillingness to crack down on violence emanating from areas that he is obligated to control.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal
Attacks Rattle Israel
Apart from their casualty tolls, the attacks rattled Israel for the apparent ease with which they were carried out in a city where Israelis and Palestinian live cheek by jowl. The Jerusalem assailants apparently acted alone, and neither had a record with the Israeli security services that might have flagged them as potential threats. They used pistols readily available on the black market. And they struck close to home, at Jews in neighboring communities.
Among measures Netanyahu brought to his Security Cabinet was the immediate sealing of the assailants’ homes to render them inaccessible ahead of their demolition. The prime minister also decided to rescind the benefits of the assailants’ relatives as Israeli permanent residents. Netanyahu further pledged to expedite the process for issuing private gun licenses to provide more Israelis with the means to defend themselves. But with tensions running high, he also enjoined Israelis to trust in the security services. “Do not take the law into your hands,” Netanyahu said in televised remarks.