Tensions between Israel and Palestinians have been rapidly worsening
The news of two bombings at bus stops in Jerusalem is an extremely concerning development, and will immediately bring back memories of the bad days of the 2nd Intifada.
Tensions between Israel and Palestinians have been rapidly worsening, and attacks by Palestinian militants on Israeli checkpoints and military positions are a regular occurence. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have been carrying out ongoing operations in the West Bank, primarily on the town of Jenin but also in the city of Nablus.
Although stabbings, car-rammings and shootings are common, there hasn’t been a bomb attack in Jerusalem for more than 15 years.
The two explosions during rush hour this morning, thought to have been remotely detonated, raises the possibility of a bomb-making cell in the West Bank – this would escalate the recent tensions to a whole new dimension and Israeli intelligence and the IDF will move fast and hard to remove that threat.
No group has claimed responsibility for the bombings yet, but Gaza-based Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have both praised it.
2022 has been the most violent year in Israel and the West Bank since 2006, with more than 130 Palestinians dead so far, 30 of them children.
Many of the dead have been Palestinian militants, killed during Israeli military operations, but a number of innocent Palestinians have been killed including a 15-year-old girl last week.
It has been a violent year for Israelis too, with at least 27 killed, including 17 as a result of five terror attacks inside Israel earlier this year – many of them were civilians.
The White House is especially worried about the deteriorating security situation, in particular fears that the Palestinian Authority is on the verge of collapse, and US national security adviser Jake Sullivan raised it with the chief of the Israeli general staff in Washington only this week.
Israel is now on high alert, as forces race to locate the perpetrators.
Benjamin Netanyahu, who won re-election earlier this month, is still trying to form a coalition government. These attacks will give those talks new urgency and might hasten a conclusion.