A Palestinian youth driving a flatbed truck went on a rampage Jan. 8, killing four Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officers, three of them women, on the Armon Hanatziv promenade in southeastern Jerusalem. A few hours later, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an appearance at the site and announced, “We know the identity of the assailant, who according to all indications supported Islamic State.” According to Netanyahu, IS winds blow everywhere, including in Jerusalem.
The use of a truck to conduct the terror attack was, Netanyahu said, a copycat operation following on IS truck rampages like the ones in Nice and at a Christmas market in Berlin. He also remarked that the truck attacks are emblematic of IS’ founding principles: to sow death and destruction by all means available and anywhere possible. This theory helps the prime minister deflect the damage to his image as “Mr. Security” in the public eye despite the attack; it gives him a kind of alibi to equate Jerusalem with Western cities. Yes, Netanyahu says, the horrific winds of IS also blow here, fateful winds that are extremely difficult to counter or fight.