West Bank sees decline in violence during FIFA World Cup

"Everybody was glued to the television." Was there a noticeable drop in violence during the World Cup? One official says yes.

 Fans watching the 2022 Soccer World Cup final between Argentina and France. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
Fans watching the 2022 Soccer World Cup final between Argentina and France.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

The World Cup final on Sunday had a definitive effect on tensions in the West Bank, especially during the final when there was a noticeable drop in activity against security forces in the region, a security official told Walla on Monday.

Did violence really drop?

According to him, "Friction and violence in the Judea and Samaria region declined. Just yesterday there were multiple big viewing events for the final game in a number of cities in the region. Even though one of the events ended in beatings and a stabbing, the World Cup generally shifted the attention of the public conversation away from the daily problems."

While violence seems to have abated during public viewing events in Ramallah and Hebron, in Nablus the World Cup final caused more violence. At least five fights broke out in the city because of the result of the game between the teams from Argentina and France, Ynet News reported. During one of the fights, chairs were thrown, while another fight ended with a man getting stabbed and evacuated to a hospital in serious condition.

 Palestinian gunmen attend the funeral of their Lions’ Den comrade Tamer Kilani, who was killed in an explosion, in Nablus on October 23, 2022.  (credit: RANEEN SAWAFTA/ REUTERS) Palestinian gunmen attend the funeral of their Lions’ Den comrade Tamer Kilani, who was killed in an explosion, in Nablus on October 23, 2022. (credit: RANEEN SAWAFTA/ REUTERS)

Arrests in the West Bank

In spite of this, security forces arrested 13 suspects throughout the night in the West Bank, confiscating guns and other weapons. During an operation near the village of Fahma, shots were fired at the soldiers, but none were injured. 

The security official added that terror supporters last weekend used the Telegram account of the "Lion's Den" terror group in order to publish a call to armed inhabitants of the West Bank to go out and carry out terror attacks.

The official also stated that the World Cup increased engagement with the Palestinian issue. "The issue got attention during the World Cup through Palestinian flags in the stadiums and the streets of Qatar and it also got expressed on social media, creating a kind of pride for the Palestinians," he explained. "We can't ignore this and it will of course also have an effect on the ground."