The experience of recent weeks shows that divide and conquer can serve as a means of control only when the ruler is careful not to shed blood as it was shed in Gaza.
The search for the factors responsible for the murder at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva is occupying investigators and the media. But it seems that the reasons they are occupied with should be sought not only in the realm of security, but in the political arena as well.
Great effort is being made, at any cost, to show a connection between the murderer from Jabel Mukaber and terrorist organizations outside Jerusalem, beyond the separation wall, specifically in Gaza or Damascus. Any sign - for example, the hanging of Hamas flags by teens - is hailed as proof of this relationship.
The reason for this is that if no group is found responsible and it turns out that it was a spontaneous initiative of a young man acting because "the pictures from Gaza do not let me sleep," as his sister said, this would undermine a whole concept with respect to the Arabs of East Jerusalem: the concept of the "good Arabs."
The establishment of the wall on the absurd municipal boundary determined in 1967, along a route that cuts through densely populated Palestinian areas, lacks any urban and security logic, except the aspiration to perpetuate the ideology of a "Jerusalem united for eternity."
The result is that one must explain why some quarter-of-a-million Palestinians who remained on the Israeli side do not constitute a security risk, as opposed to their relatives on the other side of the separation wall.
Therefore the Israelis invented a separate "ethnic group": the "Arabs of East Jerusalem," who have ostensibly been cut off from the Palestinian people, and supposedly do not deal in terror "because they have something to lose" - the rights that go along with their status as residents of Israel.
If it turns out that the murderer is no different in his reactions and his identification from all other Palestinians wherever they may be, doubt is cast on the concept that sub-communities of Palestinians have been created that have various agendas, which may be managed by a strategy of divide and conquer.
This concept becomes further undermined in light of the furious response of Israel's Arabs (another Palestinian sub-community) to the bloody events in Gaza. This response, which came to the fore in turbulent demonstrations and even stone-throwing, was seen as illegitimate.
What do they - citizens of Israel - have to do with the situation in Gaza? Their activity is proof, supposedly, that they are a fifth column. And when these two groups are joined by the rest of the sub-groups that Israel has invented for the purposes of divide and rule - Gaza, the West Bank and the Palestinian diaspora - and they all unanimously express their anger and opposition, an obvious question arises: Is a new intifada beginning?
When the Palestinians rebel as a unified front, against the divide-and-conquer dictates, they become terrorists who must be disciplined, deterred and submitted to collective punishments: Only Israelis are allowed to treat them as one, threatening bloc, while demanding that the Palestinians maintain their shattered status.
The experience of recent weeks shows that divide and conquer can serve as a means of control only when the ruler is careful not to shed blood as it was shed in Gaza. The ability to control the height of the flames of conflict is in the hands of the stronger side, and there's nothing to be done about it. No self-righteousness or arguing over "who started it all" can blur this fact.