The phenomenon of isolated Palestinian terrorists
Spur attack at Te’enim checkpoint, December 6, 2021 (Passage authority of the Ministry of Defense)
- The Israeli security establishment is increasingly concerned about the increase in terrorism and the emergence of isolated terrorists in light of threats from Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
- Hamas may be trying to use the latest wave of attacks to expand it into a new “knife intifada” like the one in 2015.
- Palestinian lawyer Ziad Abu Ziyad challenged the Palestinian leadership: âWhere is your national resistance plan? How long will our children and youth be like sheep without a shepherd? Why do you applaud and glorify unnecessary individual actions to cover up the helplessness of your leadership? “
Israel is bracing for the possibility of a new wave of lone terrorism that could mimic the “knife intifada” that erupted in September 2015. Police forces in Jerusalem have been beefed up and IDF units in the West Bank are on alert . After assessing the situation, the IDF decided not to reinforce forces in Judea and Samaria, except at crossing points following the vehicular attack at the Te’enim checkpoint in Samaria on December 6, 2021.
Security sources say Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip are trying to capitalize on the success of recent attacks and fuel tension to encourage more lone terrorists to carry out attacks.
The announcement of Hamas and Islamic Jihad on December 6, 2021 should be seen as a possible strategy to renew the escalation on the Gaza border due to the deadlock in the implementation of non-violent agreements and the reconstruction of the Gaza strip. Meanwhile, they criticize Egypt, the main mediator between Hamas and Israel.
The main task of Israel’s security forces these days is to stop the phenomenon of lone terrorists while stopping the spread of animosity.
Concerned about “copiers”
The Israeli military is alarmed by the phenomenon of imitation of single terrorists, mainly imitation of knife and ram car attacks. Additionally, in recent weeks the incentive on social media has increased, which has the most significant impact on the younger Palestinian generation, especially when watching the action live in East Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount.
In November, there were three terrorist attacks: a stabbing attack in the Old City of Jerusalem in which two border police soldiers were injured; a shootout by terrorist and Hamas cleric Fadi Abu Shahidam in which an Israeli civilian was murdered; and a stabbing attack in Jaffa in which a civilian was seriously injured.
So far, in early December, there have been two attacks: a stabbing attack on the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem in which an Israeli civilian was seriously injured and another ram car at the Te’enim crossing in Samaria in which an Israeli security guard was seriously injured. Either way, the terrorists were killed.
Hamas tries to reignite terror in Israel and the West Bank after suffering a severe blow: in recent months, the Israel Security Agency has arrested a vast network of dozens of Hamas terrorists who have planned a series of attacks in Israel and in Judea and the Region of Samaria. Weapons and explosive belts intended for suicide bombings were seized.
This terrorist activity in Jerusalem and the West Bank is directed from the Gaza Strip, Turkey and Lebanon through Hamas’ “West Bank headquarters”. The mastermind is Saleh al-Arouri, the head of Hamas’s military-terrorist wing in the West Bank.
Hamas is trying to lead a âshowcaseâ assault that will serve as a model and fuel for the fire that has already started in East Jerusalem.
Hamas believes that Israel is struggling to deal with the phenomenon of lone terrorists. Their attacks occur spontaneously and often in seemingly undirected waves. Hamas therefore tries to ride each wave as soon as it is detected and before it wears off. For Hamas and other terrorist groups, the main “enemy” of the spectacle of a handful of terrorists is the security coordination between the Israeli security forces and the PA security services.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas knows he wields a double-edged sword that could undermine his power. So, while its prime minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, attacks Israel for killing the young terrorists (“cold-blooded murder”), Abbas, in recent days, has changed direction and ordered his security forces to stop stabbing and ending the incitement.
The phenomenon of lone terrorists is attributed mainly to young Palestinians who continue to feed off incitement on Palestinian social networks and media.
Many young terrorists are frustrated. They come from families living in difficult economic situations. They seek to become “heroes” in the Palestinian society which nourishes the legend of the “martyrs”.
Young Palestinians used to announce their murderous intentions on social media or in suicide videos. However, today they generally take precautions and do not voice their homicidal / suicidal intentions for fear that the Israeli or Palestinian Authority security forces will monitor and thwart their mission.
Palestinian soul search
Within Palestinian society there are also manifestations of introspection. Following the recent knife attack by an ultra-Orthodox Jew at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem that resulted in the death of terrorist Muhammad Salima from the village of Salfit in Samaria, a veteran Palestinian journalist spoke.
Ziad Abu Ziyad, a senior Fatah journalist in East Jerusalem, published an op-ed in the al-Quds newspaper of December 5, 2021, in which he sharply criticized the Palestinian leadership:1
” What happened yesterday [editorâs note: the shooting of a terrorist] is murder in every sense of the word, and it is an episode in the series of cold-blooded murders that are being carried out against our children and youth.
“[But] There is another question that we must face with courage, honesty and responsibility: who sent Mohammed Salima to do what he did if there is no one who sent him who is responsible for his acts? “
âEvery now and then we lose the flowers of our young men and women, from children to the age of roses. Although the killing was in cold blood by the Israeli police, border guards and the military, it does not absolve us of our responsibility. The attacks of [Palestinian] individuals are useless in shedding blood aimlessly. What is the result of their deaths on the way to the end of the occupation? “
“These murders will not bring us independence and the end of the occupation, because the murder they [Israeli forces] doing to our children, who could be arrested, are unnecessary and will not bring them safety. Their murders will lead to nothing more than encouraging the will to fight back and we will enter a vicious cycle of mutual killings. “
Ziad Abu Ziad ended his article by admitting that the only attacks were useless to the Palestinian struggle:
“Where is the Palestinian leadership which bears the responsibility for managing the struggle against the occupation?” I’m not just talking about those who sit in Ramallah or Gaza, but all the faction leaders and those who speak on behalf of the Palestinian people and their plight. Where are you? Where is your national resistance plan? How long will our children and youth be like sheep without a shepherd? Why do you applaud and glorify unnecessary individual actions to cover up your inability to lead? “
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