Failures in peace talks will not lead to an escalation in terrorism in the West Bank, Yoram Cohen, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday.
“The amount of terror attacks is also a result of internal problems in the Palestinian street,” Cohen said in the meeting, which was closed to press.
The Shin Bet chief reported an uptick in attacks in the West Bank, coming mostly from individuals as opposed to terrorist organizations.
In 2013, there were 1,700 terrorist attacks, including shootings, Molotov cocktails, stabbings and rock-throwing by minors and adults. The Shin Bet also stopped several attempts to kidnap civilians and soldiers.
Cohen listed economic problems and the Palestinians’ lack of trust in Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as reasons for the attacks.
As for “price-tag” vandalism, Cohen said there have only been 40 incidents in the past four years and not all of them can be considered terror. However, he added, the Shin Bet arrested three suspects for price-tag acts.
Cohen said there is no one central organization behind “price tag” incidents and the Shin Bet has trouble tracking down perpetrators and often does not have sufficient evidence for indictments.
The Shin Bet chief also discussed a rise in Islamic extremist terrorism in Sinai.
According to Cohen, the Egyptian Army is dealing with the problem, but is unable to eradicate it.