I hope everyone was well over the New Year.
The High Holidays brought with them a relative calm in the territories, but riots did break out in a Yom Kippur incident in Acre. Reports have been varied, but it would appear that it all began when an Arab drove his car through a predominately Jewish neighbourhood on Erev Yom Kippur, allegedly blaring loud music. Riots between the Jewish community and the Arab community ensued until the town was put into virtual lockdown. For more information please read ‘Acre sees worst violence in years as Jews and Arabs resume clashes’ from Haaretz and ‘Police bid to restore calm in Acre after Yom Kippur riots’ from Jpost.
A report has been released by Terrorism Info about the increase in terrorist attacks on Jerusalem. The report focuses on the nature of these terror attacks, which have varied since the Intifada and earlier, where suicide bombing in cafes and on buses was rife across the city. The new kind of terror attacks are carried out by lone attackers (such as the bulldozer attacks in July), where according to the report “the modus operandi was relatively simple, simpler than what is involved in a suicide bombing attack... [and] did not require advance planning, training, religious brainwashing, manufacturing or acquiring weapons, collecting exact intelligence and preparing a ‘will’ for the media”.
The report also points out the attacks are being planned by East Jerusalem residents with Israel identity cards, who are able to move easily around the city without detection. For more information, please read ‘Jerusalem as a focus for terrorist attacks: increase in terrorist activity in Jerusalem and in the involvement of East Jerusalem residents’.
I came across the following article, albeit a month late, a few days ago while doing research about what has been happening in Gaza in terms of progress since the Israeli disengagement in 2005. It relates to the West Bank town of Jenin, once a hotbed of terrorist activity, particularly during the Second Intifada. The article, which appeared in the New York Times on 11 September 2008, was entitled ‘A West Bank Ruin, Reborn as a Peace Beacon’.
The article talks about a ‘quiet revolution’ that has been taking place in the city whereby trained Palestinian security officials have restored order and civilians are planning economic cooperation set to provide thousands of jobs for Palestinians. Col. Radi Asideh, the deputy commander of the Palestinian security forces in Jenin has stated ‘We got a clear American message that the Palestinian state will start from Jenin… the plan is to have a security model that can then be implemented all over Palestine.”
Following cooperation with the neighbouring Gilboa region, the head of the Gilboan regional council Daniel Atar said, “There are two kinds of peace… There is the one on a piece of paper that doesn’t stand up to any test and there is the one built from the bottom up. That is the one we are hoping to build”.
While the article is littered with many problems and obstacles with the model, most of which place the blame squarely on Israel, it is heartening to read about an area that was defined so heavily by its terrorist activity now being defined by its progress. One can only wish for this kind of calm and cooperation across the country in the year to come. To read an analysis of the article, click here.
Last Saturday’s Age ran a story by Middle East correspondent Jason Koutsoukis entitled ‘Hummus keeps Jerusalem’s restaurants humming’ about the Hummus culture in the Holy Land. Now, what can only be filed under ‘R’ for ridiculous is a news report I read today that appeared on Reuters, entitled ‘Lebanese take aim at Israel over hummus’. There are those within Lebanon that are seeking to prove that Hummus originated in Lebanon and therefore the Israelis cannot use the name. The president of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists Fadi Abboud stated, “Our battle is to prove that all these names and specialties and foods are Lebanese, as Greece did with feta cheese”. The problem with their argument is that Hummus is a signature dish across the Middle East – will it be possible for them to prevent Israel from using the word but allow, for example, Syria?
Finally, in the spirit of being green, please click here to read an MFA report about Israel building its first eco-friendly town in the Mt. Gilboa town of Nurit.
Wishing you all a happy Succot,
State Zionist Council of Victoria