Gaza conflict peaked in 2019, W. Bank terror is dropping - intel report

‘2020 could be quieter or be suddenly reignited’

Iron Dome anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets are launched from Gaza towards Israel (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Iron Dome anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets are launched from Gaza towards Israel
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
The volume of rockets in 2019 from Gaza hit new highs for a non-war year, while terrorism emanating from the West Bank continued to drop, a new report said on Monday.
Forecasting 2020, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Center report obtained and published first by The Jerusalem Post said 2020 was likely to be a quieter year due to potential “quiet for quiet” understandings between Israel and Hamas.
At the same time, the report said, Hamas had not given up on using violence to pressure Israel. Hamas’s continued violence, along with “Islamic Jihad having its own agenda,” could easily unravel any understandings and lead to an eruption into a new war at any time, the report said.
Looking at 2019 in comparison to prior years, the report noted that 1,403 rockets were fired at Israel, obliterating the 2018 non-war high of 1,119 rockets, which itself had been a massive jump from 31 rockets in 2017 and 15 in 2016. Including wars, the high was 3,852 in 2014, coinciding with the summer 2014 Gaza war that lasted nearly 50 days.
Still, the report said most of the rockets in 2019 were fired during spikes of violence in May and November, which made up 1,269 of the total rockets. Seven of the other months saw rocket fire in single digits, and two other months saw rocket fire at the low levels of 14 and 13 per month.
Regarding West Bank terrorism, the number of Israelis killed in 2019 fell to five, from 12 in 2018. Similarly, the number of “substantial” attacks, referring to violent attacks that could cause the loss of life, fell from 55 in 2018 to 34 in 2019. In 2018, there was a drop from 82 significant violent attacks in 2017 and 134 in 2016.
The drop in the volume of attacks does not mean that terrorists in the West Bank are not trying. The Shin Bet thwarted about 450 significant potential attacks in 2019, compared with 480 in 2018. Based on the attempted attack statistics, the level of violence emanating from the West Bank dropped slightly.
In the Meir Amit Center’s 2018 report, it warned that if PA cooperation with Israeli security forces dropped due to ongoing tensions, West Bank terrorism could spike once again. In the meantime, this did not occur.
But until PA President Mahmoud Abbas has a successor, and that successor shows a willingness to keep terrorism trends under control, the potential for the West Bank to explode continues underneath the continuing trend of calm, the report said.
The Meir Amit center is distinguished by its members, who are virtually all top former Israeli intelligence officials from the IDF, Mossad and Shin Bet.