Tough Israeli response to attack risks backfire: experts

By John Davison ,AFP

JERUSALEM — Tuesday’s deadly attack on a Jerusalem synagogue marked a new level in the violence plaguing the city but a tough Israeli response could trigger further escalation, experts say. After two Palestinians burst into the synagogue armed with a gun and meat cleavers, killing four worshippers and wounding nine other people, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged a harsh response to the brutal murders.

Israel has already progressively upped security in and around the Holy City following a series of deadly incidents involving lone Palestinian attackers. Political and security analyst Daniel Nisman said there was likely to be a ��bigger deployment�� of police and border police throughout Jerusalem and even talk of deploying the army in the annexed eastern sector. ��There’s other talk of bringing the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) into east Jerusalem neighborhoods, but that hasn’t been confirmed or approved,�� he said. The city has been on edge since the summer with almost nightly clashes in Arab east Jerusalem and a growing number of deadly attacks that began in August as Israel pressed a deadly 50-day offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Nisman said the latest attack had ramped up tensions even more.

��To stop these attacks, the only thing you can really do is to close off those (east Jerusalem) neighborhoods, but that’s a double-edged sword,�� he told AFP. ��You could risk increasing tensions with the people there, the majority of whom don’t want an escalation.�� Mark Heller, a political analyst at the Institute for National Security Studies in Israel (INSS), said cracking down would be difficult.