TEL AVIV -- Israelis look for simple, external answers: They're anti-Semites, they hate us, they want to kill us, they want to drive us into the sea. While I don't understand this utter inability to self-reflect, I have to admit, I understand where it comes from: fear. I feel it, too, as I move through Tel Aviv. I, too, eye the people I pass on the street, sizing them up. Forget about racial profiling -- I'm scared of everyone I don't know right now.
Violence does not occur in a vacuum, and any discussion of violence has to start with addressing the context in which it occurs. One is led to believe that Palestinians knife Israelis to death for no reason except hate. Palestinians are not madmen, though. We quickly forget and take no notice of the political context of violence which, it has been forewarned, would only make this new violence inevitable.
Where do we go from here? I once saw a young couple in Tel-Aviv wearing T-shirts that caught my attention. The captions on both their shirts said simply, "If nothing goes right, unite!" "How clever," I thought. "With these few words they captured the essence of our problem and the road to its solution."
It will either be the last battle Palestinians will fight before Israeli Jews take East Jerusalem over. Or it is the first battle of a larger struggle -- in which Jerusalem serves as a magnet for militants from wherever they hail -- Sunni or Shia, secular and Islamist, takfiris, jihadis, or nationalists.