It's another cool evening in Jerusalem as winter firms its grip on the capital city. People are preparing to go home for the evening; others are getting ready to go out. Those who live in the city and commute to other areas of the country will have trouble getting home because, once again, there is a security alert and once again, the army and police have set up roadblocks and checkpoints. Cars are being searched in a desperate attempt to beat the clock...to find a needle in a haystack.
It's a rather interesting analogy - a needle in a haystack. What happens if you don't find it? Someone might get pricked when they accidentally move the hay. What happens when you don't find a terrorist on his way to commit suicide? The answer is all too well known to Israelis.
And so, once again, we'll put up with the delays with stoic calm. What option do we have? We'll complain to our families about being late; we'll sit in the car and raise our hands in surrender to the person in the next car. But we'll accept it because the option is so much worse...if the bomber gets through...if the planned attack succeeds.
We may never know if the police find the person, or if it was a false-alarm. Sometimes, days later, the army announces they found a terrorist with explosives who had planned and attack and sometimes, we remember the night we were stuck in traffic or had to cancel plans. It's all very much part of Israel...and perhaps our willingness to accept it, in light of the possible consequences sends the wrong message around the world.
Others complain about how Palestinians are inconvenienced waiting at checkpoints; international organizations protest delays - and yet they seem so willing to ignore the obvious...even hundreds of Palestinians delayed going to work or school is not worth surrendering the life of a dozen people. Tomorrow, hopefully, the Palestinians will get to work or school on time...but the person murdered in the terrorist attack will never work again, never go to school again, never live again.
You cannot improve the quality of life for some people - when terrorists hide amongst those people with the hope of smuggling in and stealing the lives of others. The solution is, as it has always been, to stop the terrorists from acting from amongst the civilian population...and then the civilian population won't suffer.
In the meantime, the roads are jammed. People are sitting in traffic, canceling or postponing their evening plans, and praying that this time, like so many times in the past, the army and security forces are able to pull off a miracle, and catch the needle before it explodes the haystack.