Jerusalem Bus Explosion in Light of Passover

In what is being suspected to be a terrorist attack, approximately 21 people were injured by a bus explosion in Jerusalem on April 18th.

This blast happened in light of the upcoming Passover, a Jewish holiday beginning on April 18th ending on April 30th. This incident is also one of many acts of violence performed by Palestinians, along with stabbings. Also, according to CBC, “[over] the last seven months, 28 Israelis and two Americans have been killed in Palestinian attacks, while at least 189 Palestinians have been killed. Israel says most of the Palestinians killed were attackers, with the rest killed in clashes with security forces.”

This event was followed by a separate bus being set on fire.

Both incidents took place in a southwest area of Jerusalem known as Derech Hevron. This region is within distance of the Israeli boundary with West Bank, which is occupied by Palestinians. It is still unknown whether a suicide bomber caused this, or if a bomb was merely planted on the bus. Although investigations are still underway, it has been assumed that Palestinians are behind this attack. According to an article published by CBC, Israeli buses being a center target for suicide bombers “were a hallmark of the Palestinian uprising in 2000-2005 but have been rare since.”

Jerusalem has been noted to be relatively quiet for the past few weeks, and bombs have been observed to not have been used over the past few months or so. However, this is creating a fear that the state of violence is returning to how it was nearly ten years ago. According to the Alternative Press (AP), “the bombing was reminiscent of attacks by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad last decade when the Palestinian groups sent suicide bombers to detonate their explosives in buses and cafes.”

Hamas, the governing militant body of Gaza (which, along with the West Bank, is Palestinian territory and along the Israeli border), has praised the bombings. As stated in an article published by the Times of Israel, “Hamas blesses the Jerusalem operation, and considers it a natural reaction to Israeli crimes, especially field executions and the desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque…” AP even wrote: “A spokesman for Hamas in Qatar, Husam Badran, said ‘This attack affirms to everyone one that our people will not abandon the resistance path.’”

The control over Jerusalem is specifically a problem within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as both sides are asserting ownership over the city. The city holds religious significance for those following the faiths of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Israel is the only state that has recognized Jerusalem as its capital, while many members of the United Nations have not recognized Israeli ownership since 1967. Israel believes Palestinian ownership of Jerusalem poses as a security threat for Jewish holy sites, while Palestine believes the same about Israeli ownership. This religious divide has caused displacement of both Jews and Palestinians over the past several decades.

Neelam Champaneri