The recent developments in Jerusalem are confining the situation to sheer madness rather than political or social strife. First, Israeli soldiers have profaned the sacred mosque in Haram al-Sharif, which has created a general outcry in the world, especially in Muslim countries. Then, six people were killed Tuesday morning when two Palestinians brutally attacked worshippers in the Bnei Torah Synagogue and yeshiva in the Har Nof neighborhood in Jerusalem. Seven people were wounded, including two police officers. Four of the worshippers were slaughtered and security forces killed the two militants.
This incredibly violent and nightmarish attack has been considered officially by Hamas as a "heroic act," whereas the president of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, Mahmoud Abbas, has strongly condemned the murders. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, in the wake of the dreadful attack, declared that no limitations will be imposed on Jewish settlements in the West Bank henceforth.
There is a total dead-end in the situation regarding Palestinian and Israeli relations. This "fuite en avant," or continuing in a losing situation, will obviously create even more bloody and terrifying events if Palestinians are left totally and utterly in despair. The two perpetrators of the attack were cousins named Ghassan and Uday Abu-Jamal from the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood of East Jerusalem. The two were related to a prisoner released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange. This is a good example to show that the radicalization of a part of the population has reached very alarming heights.
Israel has an incomparable superiority regarding military infrastructure. Palestine has only a very shallow strike force made up of primitive rockets fired from Gaza. They create more public tension than they are capable of damaging the people in Israel. However, despite this incredible asymmetry of forces, conflicts still go on, and Israel is adamant to show the magnitude of its might on every possible occasion. There can be no better proof that no "military" solution can be foreseen.
Foreign ministers from EU countries have issued an important warning in which they have very strongly condemned the attack, which goes almost without saying for a coalition of democratic nations. But on the other hand, they stressed the need to defuse the situation, by "urg[ing] all parties to refrain from any action that would worsen the situation by way of incitement, provocation, and excessive use of force or retaliation."
They have also strongly underlined their refusal to back Israel's policies to sabotage a two-state solution. The ministers said that Israel must reverse these decisions, "which run counter to international law and directly threaten the two state solution. ... Recent settlement activity in East Jerusalem seriously jeopardizes the possibility of Jerusalem serving as the future capital of both states." They said that they remain "committed to ensure continued, full and effective implementation of existing EU legislation and bilateral arrangements applicable to settlement products."
Will the EU, together with all nations with some common sense left, be heard in Israel? Nothing is less certain, and the whole situation is getting out of hand. No peace can be foreseen for the entire region as long as the wound of the Israeli Palestinian conflict bleeds.