It is the new form of suicide attack, some have suggested. Instead of an explosive belt detonated in a restaurant or on a crowded bus, the weapon is a vehicle or a knife or a handgun. The result is similar – death, injury, terror and the near-certain demise of the perpetrator.

There are, however, important differences in the attacks seen in Jerusalem and other places in recent weeks and those of the second intifada, or uprising, which began 14 years ago – and not just in scale.

They appear to be the work of individuals or small groups, rather than meticulously-planned operations by militant organisations. Instead of coming from relatively distant parts of the West Bank or Gaza, the perpetrators are mainly residents of the city Israel claims as its indivisible capital. […]