Fear in Jerusalem as Netanyahu Vows ‘Heavy Hand’ After Attack

PM Orders Immediate Demolitions of Attackers' Homes

Tensions have been on the rise in Jerusalem, and in particular in occupied East Jerusalem, for awhile now, with settler attacks and police crackdowns leaving many East Jerusalem Palestinians believing an explosion of bigger violence was only a matter of time.

An attack on a Jerusalem synagogue by a pair of Palestinian brothers from an eastern neighborhood appears to be that prediction coming tragically to pass, but the fear is it is just the start of something bigger.

Five people were killed today, including four rabbis who held dual-citizenship. The attackers were slain, and police believe they acted alone. It’s classic blowback from rising tensions, fueled in no small part by government crackdowns.

Yet the go-to response from Israeli officials is to crack down even more, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowing to “respond harshly” after the incident, and with a “heavy hand.”

What that means is unclear, since the attackers both died in the incident, and again, are believed to have acted alone. So the question is who will Netanyahu “respond harshly” to, and many fear the answer will, as usual, by Arabs in general.

The synagogue killings provide a pretext for deeper crackdowns and escalated home demolitions, which themselves risk more tensions boiling over into violent attacks. The vicious cycle continues.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.