The statistics speak for themselves. In May, there were 17 terror attacks
in the West Bank.
One of them was a shooting and the rest involved the
throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails. The trend kept up in June and July,
those months ending with 21 and 22 terror attacks, respectively, and each with
only one shooting.
August was the same and the Shin Bet (Israel Security
Agency) even recorded a drop in terror attacks to 20. In August, there was also
only one shooting attack but this one, which took place on Tuesday night, ended
with four dead Israelis near Kiryat Arba. The next day, already September
though, another shooting took place, wounding two Israelis near
As one security official explained on Thursday, though the
terrorist shooting that killed four Israelis on Tuesday night could have
happened in any of the previous months – which were also marked by a
terrorist shooting – those, however, all ended miraculously without
The point of all of these numbers is that from a statistical
perspective it is still premature to declare that Israel is facing a
wave of terrorist attacks like it did following the collapse of the Camp
talks in 2000.
Then, the Palestinian tactic was to infiltrate Israeli
towns with suicide bombers and booby-trapped cars. Now, with the
of the security barrier and the increased Palestinian security efforts
continued IDF presence, it is extremely difficult to carry out an attack
the Green Line. For that reason, the attacks will continue to focus on
in the West Bank.
This does not mean, though, that Hamas is incapable of
launching a new wave of terror throughout the West Bank streets. The
whether it will want to.
Several weeks ago, when the White House
announced the peace summit, the IDF Central Command began to consider
possibility that Hamas would try to ignite the territories. One school
thought argued that Hamas would immediately carry out attacks to torpedo
talks and remind the world that it too is a player in the region and
be left on the sidelines. After all, it, and not the PA, is in control
The other school of thought argued that Hamas would not
immediately attack Israelis since it would not want to be perceived as
torpedoing the talks, particularly in light of the pessimism on both
they will anyhow collapse.
While the first theory seems to be correct, it
is interesting that Hamas, which has taken responsibility for the two
attacks this week, has only attacked in the West Bank and has not fired
from the Gaza Strip.
This is even more peculiar considering that it is
far easier for Hamas to launch attacks from within Gaza, which it
from the West Bank, where it has to worry about IDF and PA
Hamas’s decision to attack in the West Bank is likely aimed at
embarrassing the Palestinian Authority, which has thousands of security
personnel deployed throughout the area, and showing that the PA is
stopping the terrorists.
What this means is that Hamas still has a lot
more it could do if it really wanted to push Israel up against a wall
torpedo the talks. If it were, for example, to fire dozens of rockets
Negev, Israel would be forced to respond, even at the expense of the
the peace talks.
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