The Big, Bad Lone Wolves of Terrorism

Brothers Grimm tell the tale of “Little Red Riding Hood” that went to visit her grandmother in the woods. On her trip she met a lone wolf, but she wasn’t afraid of it. She spoke to the wolf and picked flowers nearby and effectively led the wolf to not only devour herself, but her grandmother as well. After a huntsman saw what the wolf had done, he killed the wolf and managed to save the grandmother and little Red Riding Hood.

A little while later, another wolf came to kill the two women in the grandmother’s cabin, but this time, the women were able to hold off the second lone wolf. When this wolf continued to pursue the women, it failed and died of its own carelessness.

Lone Terrorists

On January 25, 2016, a young Israeli woman named Shlomit Krigman, went home to visit her grandmother in Beit Horon, a small town along the main road that connects Modi’in and Jerusalem. She was unlucky enough to encounter two Palestinian men with knives who were seeking Israeli Jews to kill. They stabbed and killed Shlomit, and then stabbed a 58-year old woman on the street before the two were shot and killed by a security guard.

krigman-e1453787504820-635x357
Shlomit Krigman, killed by Palestinian men while going to visit her grandparents
January 2016

The latest round of attacks by Palestinian Arabs has been called by some the “Stabbing Intifada” being carried out by “lone wolves.”  The term “lone wolf” is meant to describe people that are acting without the direction of central leadership, as happened under the direction of Yasser Arafat (fungus be upon him) in earlier intifadas which claimed thousands of lives.  It also is meant to draw a distinction from the various wars that Hamas launched against Israel over the past eight years.

The United Nations described these Arabs as “desperate” about their situation for not having an independent Palestinian state.  The Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki Moon and acting President of the Palestinian Authority stress that these terrorists are not barbaric creatures, but everyday people who were simply frustrated by their lack of autonomy.

The Wall Street Journal posted an analysis of lone wolf terrorists after the attacks in Sydney, Australia in December 2014 called “Is it Possible to Spot the Next Lone Wolf Terrorist.”  It contended that the difference between a violent criminal and a lone wolf terrorist is that the latter seeks to achieve a political goal.  Yet many people want to see political change and don’t hack passers-by on the street.

The news story continued that a Pew Research Poll found that 8% of US Muslims support suicide bombings in certain instances, but the number of terrorist attacks in the US fall far below that percentage. Why?

Researchers at Bryn Mawr College created a psychological profile of lone wolf terrorists.  It contends that mass murderers and lone wolves typically have four characteristics:

  • a grievance at having been injured or persecuted
  • suffer from depression
  • “unfreezing,” meaning a loss in relationship or status that leave them unmoored to this world, with little to live for
  • experience with weapons

Yet the Wall Street Journal effectively walked away from this conclusion in an article on January 22, 2016 called “Can We Stop Homegrown Terrorists.”  Other than 93% of the terrorists being male, the author, Peter Bergman, concluded that there was not much of a pattern, and that “in everything but their deadly ideology, they are ordinary Americans…. Every lethal jihadist terrorist attack in the U.S. since 9/11 has been carried out by individuals with no formal connection to foreign terrorist groups. The threat today is so-called lone wolves.

Bergman discussed analyses completed by the New York Police Department that looked for signs of religious fundamentalism, and another by the FBI, that looked at radicalization, generally, without a tie to religion.  Neither approach neatly captured every terrorist attack.

Even without a single comprehensive profile of the “lone wolf terrorist,” law enforcement and community leaders have made many attempts to counter radicalization of people through speeches in mosques and community centers, as well as on social media.

These approaches – to sort-out and identify lone wolf radicals, and attempt to de-radicalize them – are completely absent in the case of Palestinian Arab terrorists attacking Israelis.

Lone Wolf Terrorists in Israel

Palestinian Arabs that kill Israelis are excused by the world and celebrated by Palestinian leadership.

Palestinian terrorists are celebrated by their leaders as “martyrs” with “pure blood.”  Streets, parks and soccer tournaments are named after them.  Monies flow to the terrorist’s families.

The world excuses their actions with comments such as they were “desperate” and “humiliated.”  According to the United Nations, their grievance is with their situation. But that situation cannot be divorced from their anger at Israel. One begets the other. They are not simply desperate for independence, they are desperate to destroy Israel.

As detailed in “Palestinians are “Desperate” for…” if Palestinians were solely desperate for a state, they would have agreed to the various offers made over the years.  They wouldn’t stand in objection to recognizing Israel as a Jewish State, which has no impact on gaining autonomy and independence.

No, the Palestinian Arabs are not segmented into religious and non-religious; radical and non-radicalized when it comes to terrorism.  The 93% of Palestinian Arabs that harbor anti-Semitic views, and 67% that favor stabbing random Israeli Jews, make it more akin to finding hay in a haystack, not a needle.


The Wall Street Journal noted that 45 people in the USA have been killed by radical jihadists since 9/11/01, a  terrible, but relatively small number of people in a country of 300 million over a decade and a half.  That figure compares to dozens of Israelis killed in just the past few months, in a country of 8 million. That is no longer the math of solitary, “depressed” “lone wolves” acting alone, but the essence of millions of wolves inhabiting a small forest.

The Palestinian terrorists are not crazed criminals.  As the Wall Street Journal noted, these murderers have a political agenda, and as such, are defined as “terrorists”.  These Arabs are still fighting a hundred year battle against other peoples living in the same land.

The world does not attempt to de-radicalize these killers.  Instead it excuses their terrorism.  It creates agencies to perpetuate the war against Israel.  And it admonishes only one party – Israel.

There are millions of wolves roaming Israeli streets.  Counting the UN – wolves in sheep’s clothing – there are billions.  How does that square with “lone wolf terrorism?”


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Narrative that Prevents Peace in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The Current Intifada against Everyone

“Peace” According to Palestinian “Moderates”

An Inconvenient Truth: Palestinian Polls

“Won’t you be my Neighbor?”

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