Contrary to initial reports, one person has been reported dead in the bomb left at a bus stop in central Jerusalem. Thirty-nine people have been reported as injured from the initial blast or from shrapnel.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Jihad terror group took responsibility for the firing of mortars and rockets at southern Israel on Tuesday. Two Katyusha rockets landed in residential areas of the city of Beersheba wounding one person and damaging buildings including a synagogue. A number of mortar shells were also fired at other parts of the region.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that the nation would not tolerate these attacks, but apart from air strikes aimed at silencing the rockets it’s not clear what Israel can do to halt the escalation in violence. If Hamas has decided that the only way to re-focus the world’s attention on their war against Israel is to start another round of terror, then there is no reason to think that it can be dissuaded from this course of action short of an all-out Israeli counter-attack which no one believes is being contemplated yet.
The attack in Jerusalem is especially disconcerting since it had been four years since the last terror explosion in the capital. The security fence, reviled by the Palestinians and their cheering section abroad, had largely ended the threat of suicide bombing. But if the Palestinian terror groups have decided to launch another terror offensive, purely defensive counter-measures are not going to be enough.
We can expect that if the violence continues, there will, as in the past, be calls for Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians to appease them. But this violence, like the last intifada, is not an attempt to redress grievances. It is merely the latest installment in a decades-long war whose goal is not the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel but the destruction of the Jewish state.