Killing two and wounding seven, a Palestinian gunman opened fire in a Tel Aviv pub with the media reluctant to call the incident terrorism Since Oct. 23, Palestinians have been knifing and mowing down Israelis in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Eighty-year-old Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gave rebel youth in October 2015 the green light to kill Israelis by whatever means. Today’s shooting in a Tel Aviv pub opens a new look to Palestinian terrorism, hoping to draw attention of Israel and U.N. to pressure Israel into making concessions on a Palestinians state. Since Secretary of State John Kerry ended the last attempt at Mideast peacekeeping April 29, 2014, violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem erupted, blaming Israel for restricting access to al-Aqsa mosque on Temple Mount. Israeli officials have tried to deal with growing lethal violence.
Calling for attacks against Israel Dec. 24, 43-year-old leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS] Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi insisted he hasn’t forgotten Palestine. Al-Baghdadi said Israel should get prepared for ISIS holy warriors, shifting attention away from ISIS’s Dec. 25 defeat in Ramadi. U.S. and coalition forces have had more success targeting ISIS leadership with air strikes, leaving al-Baghdadi’s command-and-control in jeopardy. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi promised Dec. 27 that 2016 would finally defeat ISIS, taking back the oil-rich city of Mosul in Northern Iraq. Opening fire on a Tel Aviv pub with a submachine gun, CCTV showed a bespectacled 20-year-old Arab man pretending to shop, pulling out his weapon from his backpack before firing on bystanders on the street and inside the pub. Two pub patrons died in a Tel Aviv hospital of gunshot wounds.
Confronted with terrorism as a way of life, the foreign press doesn’t acknowledge violence by Palestinians as terrorism. After Sept. 11, former President George W. Bush refused to deal with Palestinians precisely because the late Palestinian Leader refused to stop using terrorism to achieve political goals. Seven years into President Barack Obama’s presidency, he deviated from the Bush Doctrine of not dealing with terrorists, regardless of their excuses. ISIS attacks Nov. 13 in Paris, killing 130 and injuring hundreds and Dec. 2 ISIS-inspired attack in San Bernardino, killing 14, injuring 24, forced Obama to reevaluate his terrorism policy. Allowing his relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to deteriorate, Obama has only recently made efforts to repair the relationship, especially because it reflects poorly on Democrats during an election year.
Tel Aviv’s attack was eerily similar, though on a smaller scale, to the Nov. 13 ISIS Paris attack, opening fire with assault rifles at various locations. Tel Aviv officials haven’t finished their criminal investigation. “Police units searching Tel Aviv area for suspect who carried out shooting. All injuries take to Tel Aviv hospitals,” said police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld. “I heard gunshots and turned around, I saw people rushing to the back of the café. I heard screaming and saw a man shooting. He was brown haired, wearing a grey sweater and fled the scene,” said French tourist Alexandre Lambez who watched the carnage from across the street. “I immediately thought of the attacks in Paris,” raising questions of whether the attack was ISIS-related. Al-Baghdadi’s threat says more about ISIS’s recent military defeats than any major threat to Israel or any other country.
Israeli officials have their work cut out figuring out whether or not the Tel Aviv attack was driven by ISIS. Terrorist attacks are so commonplace in Israel it’s assumed its almost always Palestinian. If ISIS had anything to do with the attack, it opens up another front in Israel’s war on terror. Like the ISIS terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, the Tel Aviv shootings parallel the ISIS method of recruiting zealots to attack innocent civilians. No much is known about the shooter other than he came from Northern Israel and was once arrested for trying to grab a soldier’s weapon. While Palestinian terror is more common, they typically attack Israel’s with knives or use cars to mow down pedestrians. Most Palestinians in the West Bank, East Jerusalem or Gaza Strip don’t have access to the assault weapons used in the Tel Aviv pub attack, raising red flags about ISIS involvement.
Tel Aviv’s pub attack raises concerns that ISIS has begun to extend its reach inside the Palestinian territories. Using military assault weapons isn’t characteristic of typical Palestinian attacks, usually involving knives or motor vehicles to mow down pedestrians. Paralleling the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, the Tel Aviv pub attack looks more like ISIS than typical Palestinian attacks. Abbas has made clear that he won’t discourage Palestinian youth from expressing resistance through terrorist acts. White House officials haven’t put Abbas on notice that terrorism won’t be tolerated, no matter what the objective. Tel Aviv’s terror attack looks a lot like ISIS, giving al-Baghdadi more reach outside ISIS-controlled territories. Since October 15, 2015, Abbas has looked the other way while Palestinians stabbed and rammed their cars into innocent Israeli citizens in public places.