Analysis: Upsurge in West Bank violence is unmistakable warning

Rise in Palestinian attacks shows W. Bank embers are smoldering.

Palestinian throws a tire in West Bank 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma)
Palestinian throws a tire in West Bank 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma)
As the investigation into the terror attack in Psagot – which targeted a nine-year-old girl – continues, it’s worth zooming out and looking at the wider situation in the West Bank, where recent weeks have seen an unmistakable increase in violent attacks.
The IDF rightly says it would be wrong to reach a premature conclusion that a new wave of Palestinian violence has arrived.
At the same time, figures released by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) in its monthly report for September point to an upsurge in Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilian and military targets across the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
In September, security forces logged 129 attacks in total, compared to 93 in August. The upsurge included the murders of two IDF soldiers last month, as well as 72 fire bombings, four explosive attacks, and four instances of small arms fire.
The bottom line is that things are heating up in the sector. Hamas and Islamic Jihad are attempting to rebuild terrorist infrastructures and organize terror attacks against Israel from the West Bank on a regular basis. One recent example is the attempt by Hamas to bomb the Mamilla open mall in Jerusalem.
These planned atrocities almost never see the light of day, thanks to the Shin Bet’s round-the-clock preventative counter-terrorism actions.
And while the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas negotiates with Israel, incitement to violence and hatred against Israelis continues to tar the PA’s media outlets.
On Sunday, the Internet administrator of an official Fatah Facebook page praised the Palestinian gunman who shot the young girl in Psagot.
According to Palestinian Media Watch, the administrator wrote, “The sniper of Palestine was here. He saluted Hebron, [a reference to the deadly sniper attack on an IDF soldier last month] and rested in El-Bireh [the Palestinian village that borders Psagot]. He left the signature of [real] men in different parts of the homeland.”
In July, the PA’s official television channel broadcast a program showing two Palestinian girls reading poetry.
“Oh, you who murdered Allah’s pious prophets. Oh, you who were brought up on spilling blood. You have been condemned to humiliation and hardship. Oh Sons of Zion, oh most evil among creations. Oh barbaric monkeys, wretched pigs,” one of the girls said.
On the ground, the PA’s security forces and the IDF continue to maintain a level of cooperation, as Abbas has no interest in seeing an uncontrollable explosion of violence sweep his areas of jurisdiction – violence which would be orchestrated by his rival in the Gaza Strip, Hamas.
At the moment, the embers in the West Bank are smoldering, and no one can say with certainty whether they will end up erupting in flames.