Why New Knife Attacks in Israel Are 'Personal'

'This latest wave of violence feels different,' writes columnist
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2015 4:00 PM CDT
Why New Knife Attacks in Israel Are 'Personal'
Israeli policemen and a Palestinian man amid clashes in the West Bank on Oct. 10.   (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

"There is something deeply personal about using a knife to penetrate the flesh of another human being," Ronnie Olesker writes for Reuters. Despite decades of suicide bombings, war, vehicular assaults, and more that have left thousands dead in Israel and Palestine, Olesker argues there is something fundamentally different about the recent string of knife attacks carried out by Palestinians in Israel. He says a knife allows the attacker to look their victim in the eye and requires physical contact. "This latest wave of violence feels different," he writes. "It’s personal."

Eight Israelis have been killed by Palestinians over the past eight months, and around 20 Palestinians have been killed while attacking Israelis, typically with knives. Olesker says these random attacks have left the country fearful and suspicious. Anyone could be an attacker, and it's impossible to confiscate all the knives. So far, the Israeli government doesn't have a solution for the attacks, and Israelis have been left to call for their Arab neighbors to be "checked out" or Arab neighborhoods to be locked down. None of this will work, Olesker argues. He says something different—equal rights and accountability for both Israelis and Arabs—is needed. "This deeply personal chapter in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict necessitates a vision for the future rather than an immediate response to the crisis." Click for his full column. (Read more Israel and Palestinians stories.)

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