February 12, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Pledges Tougher Measures After Jerusalem Ramming Murders

February 12, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Pledges Tougher Measures After Jerusalem Ramming Murders

Latest Developments

Israel pledged to step up counter-terrorism measures on Sunday after a Palestinian killed three people, among them brothers aged six and eight, in a car ramming attack in Israeli capital of Jerusalem.

Jerusalemites are already reeling from two late-January shooting sprees elsewhere in the city.

All three attacks were carried out by Palestinians from east Jerusalem. None of them had clear links to established terrorist groups. As holders of Israeli residency permits, they enjoyed freedom of travel not available to West Bank Palestinians.

Expert Analysis

“The three attacks in Jerusalem, one of which used a car as the murder-weapon, underscore the difficulty of interdicting ‘lone wolf’ terrorism. Israel will have to step up screening of Palestinians in the city, including online. Still, there is some cold comfort to be had from the fact that in all three cases, the swift response of police or armed civilians prevented further bloodshed.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Palestinians make up some 40% of Jerusalem’s population. In recent years, Israel has mounted significant efforts to strengthen social cohesion between Arabs and Jews in the capital. The recent terrorist attacks significantly undermine those efforts. The challenge for the Netanyahu government right now is to take action that enhances security but that does not trigger greater escalation or alienate Jerusalemite Arabs.”
Jonathan Schanzer, Senior Vice President for Research at FDD

Netanyahu Under Pressure

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rightist government is now feeling public pressure to respond. Briefing his Cabinet in televised remarks, Netanyahu vowed to restore order in Jerusalem, as well as in the West Bank, where pockets of lawlessness continue to pose security challenges to both Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Israel, he said, would “prepare for an even broader action against those carrying out terrorism, and their supporters, in eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria — while avoiding, to the extent possible, harm befalling those who are not involved.”

Defense Measures Deployed

Police have set up roadblocks in parts of eastern Jerusalem and are now making arrests. It is widely assumed that those arrested are on National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s list of 150 suspects. Israeli forces also sealed the home of Friday’s assailant (who was shot dead at the scene) making it temporarily uninhabitable for members of his family.

Separately, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant authorized the seizure of millions of shekels that the Palestinian Authority paid as stipends to the families of jailed terrorists from eastern Jerusalem as part of its so-called “pay to slay” policy.

As violence has escalated since March of last year, Israelis have grown frustrated over the Palestinian Authority’s ambivalence to the lawlessness of the West Bank and the terrorist attacks inside Israel’s green line.

Related Analysis

Mapping Terrorism in the West Bank,” by Joe Truzman

Palestinian Terror Attack Kills Two Israelis in Jerusalem,” FDD Flash Brief


Israel Palestinian Politics