IDF soldier at West Bank checkpoint at Gush Etzion Junction..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
More Israelis died in terrorist attacks in 2017 than in 2016, despite a significant drop in the number of attacks, data the IDF released on Saturday night show.
The Israeli police Foreign Spokesman discusses the stabbing attack at the Jerusalem Central Bus Station on December 10, 2017 (UDI SHAHAM)
Twenty Israelis were killed and 169 were wounded in 99 terrorist attacks originating in the West Bank in 2017, up from 17 killed and 263 injured in 269 attacks last year.
It was nevertheless a large decrease from the 93 killed and 882 wounded in the 100 terrorist attacks originating in the West Bank in 2014. Twenty-eight Israelis were killed and another 360 wounded in 226 attacks in 2015.
Since October 2015, Palestinians have stabbed, run over and shot Israeli soldiers and civilians, including some foreign tourists, in a wave of violence in the West Bank and Green Line Israel.
Security forces believe that most terrorist attacks carried out by guns in the West Bank and inside Israel were carried out with weapons produced in the West Bank, most commonly the Carl Gustav-style submachine gun.
Security forces, including the Shin Bet intelligence agency, IDF and police, have increased their efforts to uncover unofficial workshops producing illegal weapons, carrying out near-nightly raids in the West Bank, shutting down weapons factories and confiscating arms, greatly reducing the number of illegal explosive devices and other weapons that could end up in the hands of attackers.
According to the IDF, 42 illegal weapons workshops were closed and 455 illegal weapons were seized in the West Bank in 2017, a slight increase from the 40 gun-making workshops closed in 2016. The number of weapons seized remained the same at 445, still a significant increase from the 170 illegal weapons seized in 2015.
While the violence has since decreased since its peak in the winter of 2016 when there were almost daily attacks, the “lone wolf” has emerged as the face of terrorism. Late last month, Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman said that the agency prevented some 1,100 potential lone wolf attacks in 2017, up from the 400 thwarted in 2016.
While lone wolf attacks are hard to prevent, security forces, have increased their efforts to get to the root of the problem in several ways.
Thousands of attacks have been thwarted due to intelligence gathering, including by an increased monitoring of social media activity, and arresting persons who express a desire to set out on attacks or attempt to inspire others to do so.
The IDF has arrested 3,617 Palestinians over the past year, an increase from the 3,143 arrested in 2016.
Palestinian rights organizations in a statement said that Israel detained 6,742 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank over the course of the year.
In a joint statement seen by the Middle East Monitor, the PLO-linked Palestinian Committee of Prisoners and Released Prisoners’ Affairs, Palestinian Prisoners Committee, Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights said that 1,467 children, 156 women, 14 Palestinian Legislative Council members and 25 journalists were arrested in 2017.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs documentation, the army carried out 162 raids between December 5 and 18, arresting 364 Palestinians, including 63 children.