Shin Bet chief says Palestinian terror attacks up 50% since 2012

The Shin Bet stopped 130 terrorist cells in 2014 and 60 in 2015 so far, most of which were part of Hamas.

June 30, 2015 19:19
2 minute read.
Palestinians militants rally in Gaza City

Palestinians militants rally in Gaza City. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Security forces stopped most terrorist attacks by organized groups, but were less successful in stopping individual attackers, Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday.

In 2014, the number of attacks by individuals went up 50 percent since 2012, when there were 683, to 1,834, with terrorism spiking during Operation Protective Edge. The figures include instances of rock-throwing, fire bombs and stabbings, as well as other types of attacks.

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The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) stopped 130 terrorist cells in 2014 and 60 in 2015 so far, most of which were part of Hamas.

Speaking at the meeting that was closed to press, Cohen explained that terrorist organizations have difficulties attacking, because the Shin Bet and IDF successfully stopped them so many times, and most of the attacks were by individuals or unorganized groups.

The Shin Bet chief said cooperation with the Palestinian Authority on security is what allows the PA to survive, despite Hamas activity. He cited moderating factors in the West Bank, like a relatively stable economy and the public’s desire to protect its personal welfare, as factors that are more effective and significant than those that could destabilize the area, such as the lack of a diplomatic horizon, international triggers or any efforts Hamas has made.

Palestinians are more focused on economic welfare and are relatively passive when it comes to a possible conflict, he added. PA President Mahmoud Abbas is trying to build his legacy by promoting unilateral actions against Israel through the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court, which are meant to promote a boycott of Israel, Cohen said.

Cohen discussed the significant allowances Israel made for Palestinians during Ramadan, allowing many more than usual to pray on the Temple Mount and lowering the age of entry. However, the PA did not implement some of the allowances, as part of their rejectionist stance to everything Israel does.

The Shin Bet chief said administrative detentions are used proportionally, only in specific situations, and with all the necessary authorizations, including from the High Court.

As for Gaza, Cohen said Hamas is in strategic distress and its sovereignty is eroding, but it retains control of the Strip, because of fear, lack of an organized alternative and economic reliance on them.

Hamas is continuing to build up its military preparedness for a future conflict with Israel, including rebuilding attack tunnels, manufacturing rockets, increasing training in the sea, air and land, and continuing to try to get aid from Iran. At the same time, Hamas does not plan to act against Israel at this point, and its effectiveness in battle would be limited. Hamas is using construction resources meant to rebuild civilian structures for rebuilding military systems that were damaged during Operation Protective Edge.

Most of the funds promised to rehabilitate Gaza were never transferred, because of conflict between the PA and Hamas, and the latter’s refusal to let the former control crossings discourages donor countries from investing money that may be wasted.

Meanwhile, Israel is the central element encouraging and promoting rehabilitation in Gaza, he stated.

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