A man inspects the rubble of a Palestinian house which was destroyed by Israeli troops during an Israeli raid in the West Bank city of Jenin September 1, 2015.
Mohamad Torokman / Reuters

On July 31, arsonists firebombed a small home in the West Bank village of Duma. The attack, suspected to be the work of Jewish terrorists, claimed the lives of an 18-month-old Palestinian child and his father, and another sibling and the child’s mother remain in intensive care. Several Jewish extremists have since been arrested, but the perpetrators remain at large. The horrifying tragedy was an urgent wake-up call, many Israeli politicians argued, for some serious soul-searching in Israeli society. It could also have been something more: a spark that lit a wider conflagration in the West Bank. Yet the often predicted “third intifada” has once again failed to materialize.

For several years now, Israeli security professionals have been concerned that a deadly settler attack on Palestinian civilians would lead to mass unrest in the West Bank. Causing such unrest has, in fact, been a stated goal of settler extremists for

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  • NERI ZILBER is a journalist and researcher on Middle Eastern politics and culture, and an adjunct fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
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