A new Palestinian intifada could break out in the West Bank, warned MK Ahmed Tibi, as Israeli security forces there remain on high alert for potential terror attacks.
“We are still on alert in Judea and Samaria,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz told the Blue and White faction in the Knesset on Monday.
“IDF forces are deployed there to prevent terrorist cells, run by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others, from carrying out attacks,” said the party's leader.
“The steps we are taking on the ground are intended to bring security,” Gantz stated.
IDF data released last week showed that the number of Palestinian shooting and stabbing attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces in the West Bank has doubled. There were 31 incidents of Palestinian shootings at Israel civilians and security forces in the West Bank in 2020, compared to 61 this year. There were also nine stabbing incidents compared to 18 in 2021.
According to the United Nations there was a 21% increase in nationalistic attacks in the West Bank by settlers and/or Jewish extremists that involved Palestinian property damage. There were 274 such attacks in 2020, compared to 332 as of December 20, 2021.
There was also a 40% increase in nationalist attacks against Palestinians that involved casualties, from 84 such attacks in 2020 to 118 as of that date.
But the largest number of Palestinian casualties in the West Bank were the result of violence that involved Israeli security forces, including riots.
At least 71 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces in the West Bank, and over 13,445 were injured, according to UN data.
It’s a dramatic increase over last year when there were 20 such fatalities and at least 2,667 injuries – five times as many injured.
Tibi told the Joint List’s faction on Monday that this level of violence was not sustainable.
“The continuation of this violence by both the settlers and the army could mean that next year would be one of confrontation and possibly an intifada,” Tibi said.
“The Palestinian people cannot tolerate the continued rise in violence and brutal aggression,” he warned.
The Joint List faction visited the villages of Beita and Burka on Sunday, two particularly volatile areas of the West Bank in northern Samaria.
“This year there is a real increase in violence of the occupation – both by the settlers and by the army,” the Joint List politicians said.
“The violent settlers are given a free hand by the army and the government because in the end they are serving the real policy of the “change” government – deepening the occupation,” they added.
Both fatalities re-energized two land battles between Israelis and Palestinians in the Samaria region of the West Bank.
The first one is for the hilltop of Evyatar, located off Route 505, near the Tapuach junction where Guetta was killed. The second is for the Homesh hilltop near the Shavi Shomron settlement, where Dimentman was killed.
The highest number of Palestinian fatalities and casualties took place in the area of Evyatar and the nearby Beita village, which are both located near the Palestinian city of Nablus, otherwise known as the biblical city of Shechem.
At least nine Palestinians were killed in the area of Beita and another 5,202 were injured.
Violence has also been high in Burka, with clashes breaking out between the army and Palestinians there when the IDF closed down the village in the aftermath of the murder of Dimentman.
On Monday, the left-wing group Yesh Din alleged that settlers and/or Jewish extremists attacked at least three homes in Burka and vandalized gravestones in its cemetery.
Soldiers who responded to the violence shot tear gas and rubber bullets at the Palestinians, Yesh Din reported, claiming that three Palestinians were either lightly or moderately wounded.