The onslaught of attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem over the last few days – and above all Thursday’s ramming attack that resulted in the death of a soldier – give the impression that Palestinian terrorism is once again on the rise. But this conclusion is incorrect.
The number of lone-wolf attacks with no organizational affiliation has declined in the last month. Data published by the Shin Bet (Israeli Security Agency) a few weeks ago showed that, during the last six months, the number of terrorist attacks went down compared to the previous nine months.
The few attacks and attempted assaults over the past week were expected and predicted.
Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman warned a few weeks ago that Hamas and other Islamist groups intended to carry out terrorist attacks coinciding with Passover.
In response to this warning, the Shin Bet and the IDF have increased their efforts to collect better intelligence in order to find out and disrupt the terrorists’ plans over the last few weeks, increasing their nightly raids and searches for wanted terrorists and suspects.
All in all, over the last two months more than 200 Palestinians were arrested, weapons-production workshops were closed down and guns, rifles and bombs were confiscated.
Three days before the beginning of Passover, Israel’s intelligence agencies, police and military are on high alert. The threat of terrorist attacks is still very high, as is the fear that radical Islamist activists will try to stir trouble over the issue of the Temple Mount and the expected pilgrimage of Jews and Christians to Jerusalem over Passover and Easter.
Nevertheless, the Shin Bet estimate is that Israel is not facing a new wave of terrorism and that the pattern – ups and downs in intensity – which has characterized the last year and a half will continue to repeat itself.
The overall picture has remained the same.
Hamas is interested in increasing terrorist attacks in the West Bank and Israel, while it is in the interest of the Palestinian Authority and its security services, which are cooperating with their Israeli counterparts, to restrain violence.
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