Lately I've been cursing the traffic delays from all the heavy construction. It's relentless. Jerusalem is pretty much in upheaval. At the hottest and busiest time of the year, the city fathers are widening the sidewalk and narrowing the lanes on King David Street. (I wondered who runs the cement concession; streets are dug up and then re-dug, and someone must be profiting.)
Today, I was coming back from my dentist appointment and took a shortcut through the YMCA carpark (It's across the street from the King David Hotel, where British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife had just left and Barack Obama is due to check in tonight.) Timing is everything, they say. Just ten minutes later, chaos broke out.
Once again a Palestinian construction worker --aren't they all?---let loose against the traffic in the heat of a Jerusalem afternoon. After he rammed a bus and passing cars with his bulldozer, armed civilians shot him dead. One car driver was seriously hurt, and at least ten other people were injured, including a scuffed up little baby.
This must be some kind of copy-cat attack, inspired by coverage of the bulldozer driver rampage on July 3rd. Several militant groups came forward to claim credit for what the government described as a terror attack. As a tactic, it's terrifying to be sure to be chased and smashed by heavy equipment. It doesn't seem overly organized.
Do Anti-zionist groups watch cult 70s horror movies like Killdozer for inspiration?
Phlegmatic Israelis are still out on the streets...but what's the alternative? The area is buzzing with helicopters and ambulances now. I just hope that no mid-air crashes are caused. Am going out to see and will update this later.
"The first thing I saw is that he tried to smash the head of a passerby with the (bulldozer's) shovel. Then he zigzagged down the street, smashing into cars," said eyewitness Moshe Feiglin.
Witness Moshe Shimshi said the driver, who was wearing a large, white skullcap commonly worn by religious Muslims, slammed into the side of the bus, then sped away and went for a car.
"He didn't yell anything, he just kept ramming into cars," Shimshi said.
The driver then headed for cars waiting at a red light "and rammed into them with all his might," he added.