June is the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The holiday is a time for visiting relatives. Thousands of Palestinians living in the West Bank got permits to travel in Israel and abroad.
In the past few months, Palestinians from Israel and the West Bank have attacked Israeli Jews. The number of attacks is going down. Israel decided to issue travel permits.
On Wednesday, there was an attack in Tel Aviv. Two gunmen opened fire on patrons at a restaurant. They killed four people and wounded others. Israeli police captured the gunmen. They were cousins from Hebron, a town in the West Bank.
Hamas officials in the West Bank cheered the shooting. Israel responded by suspending the travel permits.
Most people agree that countries have the right to defend themselves. Shootings, such as the recent ones in Brussels and Paris, cause outrage. Israel has the right to defend itself as well. There is disagreement about what comes next.
Israel is punishing many people for the crimes of two Tel Aviv killers. Some ask if Israel is overreacting to the shooting. Others say Israel has to make dramatic moves to show it will not tolerate such attacks.
For many people, Israel’s place in the West Bank is in dispute. They say the attacks are the result of what many call an Israeli occupation.
A hardline government is in place in Israel. It does not believe it can make peace with the Palestinians in the West Bank. Israel turned over the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians in 2005. Hamas took control and sent rockets into Israel. Israel fought back and did a great deal of damage in Gaza.
The two sides are far apart. Israel says Palestinians will attack them if they turn over the West Bank to the Palestinians. There is no chance Israel will ever withdraw from the whole West Bank.
This struggle between Jews and Palestinians is old. It started long before Israel became a nation in 1948. No resolution is in sight.
Source: The Wall Street Journal June 9, 2016