December 27, 2020

The Emerging Pattern


Palestinian terrorist Nur a Din Hashiya holding sign that reads, “We are a people who loves death like our enemies love life.”

A pattern emerges, dear friends. The names of the five Palestinian Arab terrorists who have murdered or sought to murder Israelis in major incidents in the last couple of weeks are: Nur a Din Hashiya, Maher al Hashlamoun, Ibrahim al Akari, Abd al Rahman al Shaludi and Mutaz Hijazi.

It is interesting to note that all these men are not simply members of the Arab Muslim public, with no prior affiliation, who suddenly committed acts of terror (there have been a number of incidents involving such non-affiliated individuals in recent years.) Rather, all are members of Palestinian organizations. Hijazi and Hashlamoun are/were Islamic Jihad members. The others are/were Hamas members.

So it should be understood: what we are in the midst of is an orchestrated campaign, a declaration of war, if you will, whereby members of these organizations appear to have been given a general instruction to go out and kill Jews. I doubt there is anything more direct than this general instruction (except in the case of Hijazi, who tried to kill Yehuda Glick, where I suspect an organizational guiding hand may have been involved. This was the only instance involving the use of firearms and a clear target). So this is not, in my view, simply an outbreak of strange, spontaneous fury. It, and the whole hysteria around the ‘contamination’ of the Temple Mount by a Jewish presence is being whipped up, by political organizations.

As to why the Palestinian Islamists might seek war at the present time – here, one can only speculate.  The Palestinian cause has been rather neglected in recent years by the Arab and Muslim worlds, because of matters of far greater historical weight taking place in the Arabic-speaking Mid-East.  Perhaps the Palestinian Islamists – on the rope financially, isolated, and having achieved nothing in a recent military contest with Israel in the Gaza Strip – hope to re-galvanise their venture through draping it in the pan-Islamic symbol of the al-Aqsa Mosque.

If so, it is a project unlikely to succeed.  There are more important matters to be attended to in the region right now than the Palestinian cause, once the flagship of Sunni Arabism.  The more important issues being the collapse of states and the war with the Shia/threat of Iran.  Still, the current effort is likely to find echoes in the west. More importantly, and tragically, more Israeli lives are likely to be terminated on the way to defeating this latest aggression against the Jewish heritage and presence in the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. 

About Jonathan Spyer

Dr. Jonathan Spyer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center in Herzliya, Israel, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum. He is the author of The Transforming Fire: The Rise of the Israel-Islamist Conflict (Continuum, 2010) and a columnist at the Jerusalem Post newspaper. Spyer holds a PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics and a Masters' Degree in Middle East Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. His blog can be followed at: