that took place Monday near the south Tel Aviv nightclub 'Haoman 17' is what can be called a "local terror attack" – that is, one that can be attributed to the perpetrator's own motives, as opposed to those of a terror group. Whether these are nationalist-religious or personal motives, they go hand in hand with the atmosphere that has taken root on the Palestinian streets.
The terrorist's questioning has yet to be completed, but the fact that he was armed with nothing but a knife indicates that the man operated alone, evidently acting on an impulse. It remains unclear why the officers who wanted to subdue the attacker did not shoot him.
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It can be assumed that the man, a Nablus resident, was one of the thousands of people staying in Israel illegally. The precise motive hasn't been revealed yet, but the Ramadan fast probably had something to do with it. Working people who are not allowed to eat or drink all day long, and who are imbued with religious fervor, might develop extremist inclinations.
The terrorist could have been driven by the desire to clear his name in the eyes of his family, or in the eyes of terror groups active in the West Bank, by killing Jews. It’s possible he was accused of cooperating with Israel, and this was his way to negate the allegation. Of course, we cannot exclude other impetuses, like unrequited love or dire economic straits, which could have driven the man to practically commit suicide, but it appears that he wanted his death to have meaning – to go out as a martyr.
There is reason to believe that the assault was an attempt at a suicide of a nationalistic character, as he specifically chose to wound police officers
and not the civilians around him.
This latest incident in Tel Aviv joins the recent warnings anticipating an Islamic Jihad-perpetrated terror attack on Israel. The Islamic Jihad's driving force is clear: To avenge the death of a senior operative, Ismail Al Asmar, who was killed
by the IAF last week. The terror group has branches in the West Bank, therefore the attack may originate in sites other then Sinai or the south.
In general, the Israeli public and security forces must stay alert, due to the terror-fostering atmosphere that has has taken hold of the Palestinian streets.
This atmosphere was ignited first and foremost due to the recent assault
on the Israeli-Egyptian border, which was considered a success by the Palestinian public, and therefore has encouraged copycats. The subsequent confrontations
in Gaza, as well as the impending Palestinian declaration of statehood
and the Ramadan have all added fuel to the fire.
We should all look around us, and manage the risks.