I’ve been working with the NY Jewish Week to develop a regular blog feature. In addition to one published earlier (“‘Jewish Nation-State’ Bill Undermines The Jewish State“), I had two pieces posted last week as “opinion”: “Israel’s Eric Garner Incident” looks at the striking coincidences in the police-related deaths of a Palestinian cabinet minister, Ziad Abu Ein, and New Yorker Eric Garner; the other (“Fatal Falls. Car Crashes. Stabbings. Terrorism?“) explores the recent spate of lethal incidents in Israel and why they were usually categorized as terrorism.
. . . I communicated via email with Avital Leibovich, a reserve IDF lieutenant colonel who served until June as IDF media spokesperson, and now heads the Israel office of the American Jewish Committee. The most establishment or mainstream voice I heard from, Col. Leibovich also emphasized that “The planning is usually immediate and not long termed. . . . The patterns are really not too sophisticated―basically taking advantage of working places who trust these Palestinians.”And I spoke by phone with a visiting scholar at the centrist Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Neri Zilber, who recently returned from several weeks in Israel and the West Bank. He characterized the recent attacks as “lone-wolf,” “freelancing,” “almost opportunistic,” and also with a “low degree of planning.”Mr. Zilber explained that “large-scale operations against lone-wolf attacks―such as advocated by Naftali Bennett―won’t work, because there is no organizational or planning apparatus to dismantle.” When asked what might be most effective, he suggested local and national political leaders reaching out to East Jerusalem Palestinians, “who have legitimate grievances,” such as for more housing and improved infrastructure.On this matter of grievances, Councilwoman [Laura] Wharton has written about the development of parks that hem in Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, denying them physical space for natural growth (“Parks as Weapons: New Strategy of Right”). Meir Margalit, a former [Meretz] colleague in the municipal council, states that housing permits are almost impossible to come by for Palestinians in East Jerusalem (more than one third of Jerusalem’s population) with only about 100 issued annually. . . .