Who’s behind the escalating violence in Israel? Look no further than the Russians

By Carly Jacobsen

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An article today by ABC News is titled “What’s behind the escalating violence in Israel?” The title should be changed to “who” and to find the answer one need not look further than the Russians.

It’s a little bit too coincidental that the violence between Israelis and Palestinians once again heated up just as the Russians were beginning their air campaign in Syria.

The Russian’s are up to their old tricks. They have always had close ties to the Palestinians. Now, they are using the Palestinians to throw the Israelis off balance. No doubt trouble will soon start with Hezbollah in Lebanon. Of course, Hezbollah is backed by the Iranians, the Russians new ally in the Middle East parlor game.

Russia should be warned that dealing with Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu is a lot different than dealing with President Obama.

Simply put, the Israelis play for keeps, Mr. Putin. It is a hard lesson that others have learned. Perhaps, you will learn it as well. Be warned.

As ABC News reports:

A string of deadly, pointed attacks throughout Israel has caused local and international fears of escalating tensions in the region.

After some stabbings and attacks on culturally significant sites, the violence reached a new level this weekend.

On Sunday, a Bedouin man who was an Israeli citizen allegedly opened fire inside the central bus station in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba.

The alleged attacker, identified today as Muhanad Al-Aqabi, 21, was armed with a gun and a knife when he fatally shot an Israeli soldier at the station, officials said. He allegedly proceeded to take the soldier’s M-16 but was quickly shot dead by Israeli security forces on scene.

In addition to the alleged gunman and the soldier, identified as 19-year-old Sgt. Omri Levy, six other Israelis were also injured as an Eritrean was shot by an Israeli security guard who reportedly believed the African was a second assailant.

A hospital spokeswoman confirmed to The Associated Press that the Eritrean man, identified as Habtom Zarhum, 29, was an asylum seeker who died from his injuries, bringing the total number of fatalities from the incident to three people.

Apart from the Beersheba attack, Israeli police say three Israelis were wounded in six stabbing attacks over the weekend. All six alleged Palestinian assailants were shot dead, including two in Jerusalem.

On Friday, a Palestinian man, wearing a “press” T-shirt and purportedly posing as a photographer, allegedly stabbed and wounded an Israeli soldier near the West Bank city of Hebron.

There have been daily clashes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, across the West Bank and on the Gaza border in recent days, with tires being burned, rocks thrown and Israeli forces responding with tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition.

The Palestinian Red Crescent says nearly 2,000 Palestinians have been injured since the beginning of the month.

The existing frustration has been fueled by ongoing and intensifying confrontations around the al-Aqsa mosque and the Temple Mount. A key national symbol for Palestinians, it is Islam’s third holiest shrine and the most sacred site in Judaism. Palestinians fear increasing visits by Jewish groups, and continued restrictions on Muslim access, will erode Muslim religious control there. But Israel has adamantly denied the allegations, saying there are no plans to change the status quo and accuses the Palestinians of incitement by spreading the rumors.

Since the beginning of the month, at least nine Israelis have been killed,along with 41 Palestinians, 20 of whom Israeli authorities have identified as attackers. The remaining 21 Palestinians died in clashes with Israeli troops. The final fatality was the Eritrean man who died during the bus station attack.

The violence has been dominated by Palestinian teenagers stabbing Israelis in so-called “lone wolf” attacks and without the political and organizational support that existed during the first and second intifadas.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said today, “we are in an extended struggle that we will surely win.”

It is unclear how long this violence will continue. US Defense Watch will begin to post regular updates on the situation.

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