It didn't start yesterday, and based on police data, it has been going on for a bit a more than a year. How much more? That depends on who you're asking - the person who had a stone thrown at him or the organization's statistician.
In any event, even if its name has not been officially signed yet, it has already become the third intifada. Like with the Second Lebanon War, it takes time to internalize things and admit that what we are seeing is indeed the actual thing, even if it presents itself in different forms.
I wrote about it two weeks ago. It hasn't reached the first pages of the newspapers yet and isn't opening the newscasts, I wrote at the time, but it's already on the streets. Then I presented a series of examples aimed at proving the claim: Thousands of intentional arsons, repeated attacks on the Jerusalem Light Rail, hundreds of incidents of stone and Molotov cocktail throwing a month, riots on the Temple Mount, a takeover of a police station on the site, etc - everything which falls under the troublesome definition at the end of the day.
I also quoted a senior researcher who recommended that we avoid using the term, as it may become a self-fulfilling prophecy. And I concluded by saying that the problem is not the name's definition, but the zero action, the acceptance of what is happening.
And there were reactions. As always, some people agreed and some didn't. Someone - a self-righteous person who insists on the symmetry issue as if that's where redemption lies - argued that I only presented examples of stone throwing but not of the different "price tag" activities. Others wrote, "Zero action? Thousands of police officers, Border Guard soldiers, compulsory soldiers are handling it."
Well, that's true. Thousands of police officers and soldiers are dealing with the issue now, and it likely occupies the time and energy of many police and army commanders. Everyone is busy trying to put out the fire, or at least gain control of it. The chances are not high, but if and when it ends it won't be because we actually succeeded, or because the punitive measures against stone throwers were aggravated, or because heavy fines were imposed on the young people's parents, or because elite units removed those who are perceived by the security services as the leaders of the struggle from their homes in the middle of the night and detained them until the end of legal proceedings.
A good example is the struggle of Mohammed Allaan, the hunger-striking administrative detainee who was just discharged from the hospital following a long battle, and was re-arrested. One doesn’t have to be a genius to estimate that he will not only resume his hunger strike, as he has already done, but that he will likely find himself in the hospital again, and that Israel will find itself in the exact same spot.
And that's the thing: The thousands of police officers who were dispatched during the holiday to safeguard citizens in Jerusalem, on the way to Jerusalem and in the territories, are not the proof that Israel is doing something. On the contrary, it's proof of inaction. If the Israeli government hadn't rejected any possibility of advancing a move of understanding, of an agreement - these police officers could have celebrated the Jewish New Year with their families.
Inviting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to hold talks at this time, and declaring that it's without preconditions, is really a joke. What do you mean, without preconditions? Without them working to calm things down? Without us making an effort to calm the situation? Without showing, for example, that we understand that it's impossible to release Allaan and re-arrest him on the very same day?
The first intifada ended with the Oslo Accords, the second intifada ended with the reoccupation of the West Bank and the construction of the separation barrier, but also with 1,115 dead Israelis and about 8,000 injured and with 4,269 dead Palestinians and about 30,000 injured.
So Israel should probably decide how the current intifada will end. It's true that it doesn’t all depend on us, and in light of the reality in the Middle East, no one mistakenly thinks that we will change things with the power of our hands. But still, as cliché as it may sound, it takes two to tango.