Gaza, Syria quieter as West Bank ramps up - IDF 2022 stats

There were 53 military visits to Abraham Accords countries in 2022.

 IDF training exercises 2022.  (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
IDF training exercises 2022.

The IDF on Thursday put out its 2022 year-end report that painted a mixed picture of the Israeli security situation, with stability vis-à-vis Gaza, but significant turmoil regarding the West Bank.

Besides those arenas, the report did not give exact statistics regarding Israeli air force attacks on Iranian weapons and militias in Syria and other nearby countries, but did give general statistics about air force flight hours, which along with other statements by top IDF officials showed significant activity.

IDF activity by the numbers

Regarding terror emanating mostly from the West Bank, the report said that 2022 saw 7,589 rock throwing incidents – up from 5,532 in 2021, some 4,002 in 2020 and 3,805 in 2019.

There were also 1,268 Molotov cocktail incidents, up 26% from 1,022 in 2021, some 751 in 2020 and 839 in 2019.

Most worrying were the 285 shooting incidents, almost five times the 61 in 2021, 31 in 2020 and 19 in 2019.

The number of stabbing incidents remained relatively the same, between nine and 18, as it has been for the last four years.

This picture shows that violence from the West Bank has escalated in 2022, not only at the low-grade mass protest-riot level, but also using deadly weapons.

 IDF security forces and military canines participate in Operation Break the Wave 2022.  (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) IDF security forces and military canines participate in Operation Break the Wave 2022. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Those deadly weapons led to the deaths of 31 Israelis, a majority of them civilians, compared to just five, three and four in 2019, 2020 and 2021 respectively.

The report said that the amount of confiscated terror funds was larger than in 2019-2020, but less than in 2021, while the amount of confiscated weapons was more than in 2021, but less than in 2019 and 2020.

According to the report, the number of Palestinians under arrest at the end of 2022 was 2,672, a slight increase from prior years.

Breakdown of Palestinian arrests

Breaking down the arrests of Palestinians by month, the high for the year was 411 in March, which was the start of 2022’s ongoing series of waves of terror. There were 336 in August, in parallel to Operation Breaking Dawn in Gaza, but down to the 200s in recent months and 170 in December.

TO THE EXTENT the 2022 waves of terror or at least West Bank border infiltrations have been reduced, some of that could be the result of ongoing progress toward 50 kilometers of new sensors being installed for the West Bank Wall, with a completion target date for the end of 2023.

Another 50 kilometers of other adjustments to the border fence are also planned, but without a definitive end date given.

An additional four kilometers of more significant security measures surrounding the wall were completed in the Northern West Bank.

All of this included spending NIS 30 million out of an eventual NIS 50 m. budgeted toward the task of improving West Bank border security.

Recent reports from the IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) described a reduction in attacks in November, but there have been other ups and downs this year, so it was unclear whether the terror waves have truly returned to more stable pre-2022 levels, or whether this was just a temporary lull.

Operation Breaking Dawn

Referring to Operation Breaking Dawn, in which some 7,000 reservists participated, the IDF report tried to present the last four months of relative quiet from Gaza as evidence that the August conflict deterred Gaza terrorists even more than prior operations.

However, this was a somewhat bizarre statistic, as most Israelis are not only looking for quiet over a period of several months, but for at least several years, such as the 16-year period of relative quiet with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

 An IDF security officer and military canine look out of a window during Operation Break the Wave 2022.  (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) An IDF security officer and military canine look out of a window during Operation Break the Wave 2022. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

In terms of the operation itself, the report said that 50 Islamic Jihad fighters were killed, there was a 97% success rate for Iron Dome accuracy shooting down Gaza rockets, some 180 Gaza targets were destroyed and 1,162 rockets were fired from Gaza.

Although some of these numbers sound impressive, the fact is that the vast majority of Islamic Jihad’s forces and rocket arsenal remain intact - and Hamas has not lost any of its forces and has been able to restock its weapons arsenal since the May 2021 Gaza war.

NEXT, the report detailed the IDF’s activities to stop smuggling across the border, with an emphasis on the Southern border with Sinai. Some 500 border incidents were disrupted, and 75 were thwarted out of 160 full-fledged smuggling incidents.

The mix of the three categories appeared to indicate that some incidents might just be illegal border crossings of smugglers without items and some might include preventing an illegal crossing, but without actually catching anyone, whereas around 75 incidents involved catching smugglers with their smuggled items.

A broad view of the Middle East 

In the broader Middle East arena, there were a stunning 53 visits of IDF officials to Abraham Accords countries, including the formation of a new unit to focus on those activities.

Regarding the air force, the “war between the wars campaign” of Israeli airstrikes and other special operations in Syria and other nearby countries was likely responsible for most of the 105,000 hours of airtime.

The air force also participated in 16 international joint drills with allies.

 IDF training exercises 2022.  (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) IDF training exercises 2022. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

In a speech on Tuesday, outgoing IDF chief-of-staff Lt. gen. Aviv Kohavi made reference to nearly constant activity in Syria and against Iran generally. He and other officials have discussed hundreds and sometimes thousands of attacks over a 10-year period dating back to 2012.

The report said that naval vessels had spent 96,686 hours at sea, including using the Barak interceptor defense system twice as well as participating in 14 international joint drills.

Miscellaneous statistics 

There were some other interesting statistics in the report, such as that this year saw the training and appointment of 5,953 new officers.

According to the report, 130 cafeterias were upgraded, 900 IDF graduates went into hi-tech through a special program facilitating that transition and salaries were raised for soldiers by 50% from NIS 823 to NIS 1,235/month (about $350) for non-combatants and NIS 2,032 to NIS 3,048/month (about $865) for elite combatants.

The report also referenced an expansion in choice for female soldiers’ uniform options, including some uniforms with pockets, as well as some smaller and more comfortable boot options.