Israeli defense officials say that violent attacks, mostly stonings, have increased sharply since the United Nations Security Council passed an anti-Israel resolution late last month, Avi Issacharoff reported in The Times of Israel on Tuesday.
The increase was recorded during the last week of December 2016 — immediately following the passage of UNSC resolution 2234 on December 23 — and the first week of January 2017. While security forces noted that exam season in Palestinian high schools generally leads to a rise in these sorts of attacks, which can be lethal, the increase this year is larger than that recorded in previous years.
There were 346 rock-throwing attacks recorded in September, 375 in October, 420 in November, and 344 in December, according to officials. Most of the attacks in December occurred during the last week of the month. They were followed by 169 attacks over the first week of January, a pace that will result in nearly 700 violent incidents if it continues for the whole month.
Issacharoff noted that while a series of anniversary celebrations also took place around this time, including that of Fatah’s founding and of the 1996 assassination of Yahya Ayyash, Hamas’s chief bomb maker, “the political context cannot be dismissed.” He pointed to the recent passage of UNSC resolution 2334, which described Israel’s presence in Jerusalem and other territories captured in 1967 as illegal, and the subsequent speech by Secretary of State John Kerry on December 28, which sought to justify Washington’s decision not to veto the controversial resolution.
On December 29, veteran Palestinian affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh reported that the Palestinian Authority was leveraging the passage of resolution 2334 “to promote boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel.”
Abu Toameh added that Mohamed Shtayyeh, a former Palestinian peace negotiator and associate of Abbas, used the occasion to encourage Palestinians to “bolster the popular resistance” against Israel. “Popular resistance,” Abu Toameh explained, is “code for throwing stones and firebombs, and carrying out stabbing and car-ramming attacks against Israelis.”
“The resolution has also encouraged the Palestinians to pursue their narrative that Jews have no historical, religious or emotional attachment to Jerusalem or any other part of Israel,” Abu Toameh observed.
On Sunday, a Palestinian man from eastern Jerusalem drove his truck into a crowd of young Israeli soldiers, killing four. Both main Palestinian political factions, Fatah and Hamas, praised the attack.
At a memorial event hosted by The Israel Project on Wednesday, Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, called on the international comunity “to stand united against this rise of violent extremism.”
“Terrorism will never be tolerated. There are no excuses,” he added.
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