The recent wave of Palestinian terror attacks against Jews and Israelis is largely due to a pattern of extreme radicalization that has taken place in eastern Jerusalem over the past twenty years, a recently retired former Shin Bet official told The Tower.
“This process began when the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994 and took over the school curricula in East Jerusalem and inserted poisonous material inciting against Jews and Israelis to the younger Palestinian generation,” Yehuda Yemini, whose area of responsibility for Israel’s internal security service included eastern Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, said in an interview Thursday. “This is the exact generation which is behind and responsible for the recent escalation and organizes violent actions against Israeli security forces.”
Yemeni pointed out that the traditional patriarchal power structure is respected in almost all daily circumstances in Palestinian society, with the important exception of fighting Israel. “When Palestinian youth attack Israelis with rocks, fire-bombs, knifes, etc., it is harder for the community leaders and fathers to take control of the actions and condemn the perpetrators, since it makes them look as collaborators with Israel and weakens their own internal power within their communities,” he said.
When asked what inspires Palestinians to commit “lone wolf” terror attacks, Yemini explained that such attacks “are an easy way for Palestinians to ‘blow steam’ with no consequences from their own society since attacks against Israel are glorified in Palestinian society.
It can result from anger at work, a family problem, a romantic issue or anything else that comes to mind. When the anger is directed towards hurting Israelis and not against Palestinians there is no accountability—add to this extreme incitement over the years with PA monthly payments to jailed terrorists and their families and you get a good recipe for lone wolf attacks.
Many residents of eastern Jerusalem claim that one of the main causes of anger and violence aimed at Jews and Israelis is the long years of negligence of their neighborhoods by the Jerusalem municipality, which they believe does not provide the basic needs of the population. This, the theory goes, contributes to a general feeling that they have nobody taking care of them and nothing to lose. Yemini answered that “there are heaps of initiatives by the Jerusalem municipality aimed at increasing the quality of life in those neighborhoods such as road constructions, building of new schools and medical centers that were turned down deliberately by local leaders. This happens because cooperation with Israeli authorities is many times considered treason in East Jerusalem society and that is also part of the basis of why they ban the municipality elections which they are entitled to by law. This fact feeds on perpetuating poverty and violence across the various neighborhoods.”
While working in eastern Jerusalem, Yemini met many local Arab leaders who wanted to cooperate on various projects, but were pressured not to do so by local Fatah and Hamas leaders. “The Palestinian Authority, via Fatah operatives and Hamas activists, make sure to convey to these local leaders the message that cooperation with the Jerusalem Municipality is considered collaboration with the enemy,” Yemini said. “This message was usually conveyed only by words but has a strong deterrence effect on the community leaders in the eastern neighborhoods of city to work with the Municipality.”
These leaders have a problematic and serious personal dilemma when the municipality wants to initiate a project in these neighborhoods:
In places where the power base of Fatah and Hamas is strong, cooperating with the municipality will result in “shaming” of these leaders by distribution and hanging of leaflets which blame an individual with normalizing with Israel and accepting its sovereignty. If they decide to still go along and cooperate with the municipality, then many times the result would be physically assaulting municipality officials who enter the neighborhood and evidence of this is very easy to find.
Yemini believes that the two main factors in the recent escalation are “the extreme incitement from all PA factions from the beginning of the Jewish holiday season, which highly affects the youth radicalized from a young age….and the inability or unwillingness of Abbas’s forces to stop Palestinians in the West Bank from reaching friction points with the IDF in the city outskirts.”
[Photo: Reuters / YouTube  ]