ehud Olmert
© Ronen Zvulun/Reuters
Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert in 2012
It's a known fact that Palestinians are not responsible for most terrorist attacks take place in Jerusalem - this responsibility falls solely upon us.

The events that have transpired in Jerusalem these last few days are not a coincidental occurrence that will disappear so quickly. We are on the brink of a violent awakening that could intensify and lead to violence and acts of terrorism on our streets. These clashes could end in a significant number of casualties, among both Palestinians and Israelis.

Twenty years ago, as mayor of Jerusalem, I found myself in the eye of the storm that shook our lives and threatened Israel's security. Jerusalem was the main target of the terrorist attacks - which took place on Jaffa Road, on Pat Street not far from Teddy Stadium, at Sbarro Restaurant and Moment Café and many other locations. I remember every horrible image from these attacks - they will remain with me for the rest of my life.

No normal person wants to return to those days. Back then, Yasser Arafat was the Palestinian leader. Arafat didn't want peace, had no intention of striving for peace and never stopped dreaming about the continuation of terrorism as the only way to achieve the goals he set for himself. The Palestinian terrorism of the early 2000s, which was spearheaded by Arafat, did not take place as a result of Israel's unwillingness to negotiate with him. It was a consequence of Arafat's inability to disengage from his terrorist past and reframe himself as a statesman, like Menachem Begin or Nelson Mandela.


Today, the Palestinian Authority is headed by a leader who wants peace and opposes terrorism. I know Mahmoud Abbas, aka Abu Mazen, well. Unfortunately, in the moment of truth, when I submitted to him a proposal for a peace agreement that met most of the Palestinians' expectations and demands, Abu Mazen couldn't find the courage to accept and sign the proposal. We have uncountable reasons to be suspicious of the Palestinians, to doubt their abilities and willingness to move forward toward a true and substantive peace, and accept the platitude that "painful concessions need to be made on both sides." Nevertheless, the PA cooperates with Israel to prevent terrorist attacks. The Palestinian Security Services turn over suspects in terrorist attacks over to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).


It's a known fact that most terrorist attacks take place in Jerusalem, where there's no presence of Palestinian security forces, and where they are not responsible for any terrorist activity - this responsibility falls solely upon us. There are almost no security-related incidents in areas that are under the PA's jurisdiction. We must call attention and be especially sensitive to those people who preach morality, who criticize Abu Mazen and the Palestinians, and are eager to blame them at every possible opportunity.

In recent days, new circumstances have arisen that could drag us into a new round of terrorist activity and bloodshed on both sides. This time, I fear, the source of the terrorist activity, violence and fervor toward clashes does not necessarily originate primarily with the Palestinians, despite the fact that Hamas jumps at every opportunity to fan the flames due to internal disputes within the Palestinian leadership, especially on the eve of the upcoming election.


It's time to put things in their proper context. For a very long time now, Jews in various areas of the West Bank have been harming Palestinians in an organized and systematic fashion in a way that causes them severe economic hardships, as well as physical harm. The pictures of the hilltop youth hitting Palestinian farmers, destroying their olive trees, throwing stones at them and hitting civilians who have nothing to do with terrorist activity all testify to a serious and provocative phenomenon that is designed to systematically push Palestinian citizens into a corner, until they have no choice but to resort to violent reactions.

Until recently, this violence has been routine for some settlers who have been harassing Palestinian residents in an effort to achieve their goal of dispossessing and ousting them from the places where they live.

But now a dangerous new dimension has been added. Far-right circles have been smelling the scent of political defeat that could threaten their entire life's work. The outcome of the most recent election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's diminishing chances - at least for the moment - to form a government comprising his fascist friends, such as Itamar Ben-Gvir, could lead to a change in the balance of power within politics. The violent settlers don't really believe in Bibi, and they don't trust that he will fulfill their wishes. But, they do know him. They know that he is an extortionist, a coward, that he lacks stamina and feels no real commitment to the Land of Israel in the same way they do.

They recall how he implemented the clause in the Oslo Accords that obliged Israel to withdraw from Hebron. Yitzhak Rabin refrained from doing this, as did Shimon Peres. It was Bibi in the end who withdrew from Hebron. They are worried that he'll do the same thing in additional places. They know that he cannot withstand pressure. They know that Bibi panics when he faces uncertainty and risk. That's why they support him and prefer him over all the other candidates. For over ten years, they've been putting pressure on him in the most sensitive areas, and he's been reacting exactly as they suspected he would: by completely surrendering.


Ever since he was voted back into office as prime minister in 2009, Netanyahu has done everything to torpedo every opportunity to move toward real dialogue with the Palestinians, while the latter actually cooperated in an effort to prevent terrorist attacks and bloodshed.

Everyone knows that the only subject that is really capturing Bibi's attention is his continued residence on Balfour Road. Nothing has succeeded in exciting him other than the real threat of him having to evacuate Balfour and stand before a panel of Israel's judges in Jerusalem.

Radical-right activists don't really care about Bibi's personal fate. The fate of the settlement enterprise, the chance of continuing to steal Palestinians' private land and expanding illegal construction in areas that owned by Palestinians are what motivate these right wingers.

Therefore, they decided to provocatively fan the flames in Jerusalem that were explicitly intended to incite violent clashes with Palestinians. The organization Lehava, run by Ben-Gvir and his partners, explicitly works to ignite the fire that will lead to violent reactions, which will end in another wave of terrorist activity.

A wave of terrorism is what Netanyahu needs to create the appearance of an extreme state of emergency, which would necessitate the formation of nationalist government with himself at the helm, and that would consist of all the right-wing parties, including Bennett's Yamina.

Netanyahu will not be the one to light the match. That will be taken care of by Lehava activists. He's giving them that. He wants a crisis. Jerusalem is the ideal location, since that's the place around which he can consolidate support among the right-wing and nationalist camps. In the absence of a police force that is determined and prepared to curb the actions of Lehava activists with full force and without hesitation, the latter will succeed in starting a fire. Of course, Netanyahu will act all surprised, but will then quickly act to unite the nationalist camp, and in the end, Bennett might decide to join, too

.If a fire doesn't start in Jerusalem, Netanyahu will light one on the northern border or with Hamas in the South.

At the last moment, when his world is about to topple over, Netanyahu will try to destroy our world and let it fall apart all around us.