Since October 2015, Israelis have faced a daily onslaught of stabbings, car rammings, stone hurlings, firebombings, and shootings. This terror wave has been fueled by a culture of incitement in Palestinian society. Despite the strategic and tactical challenges, the IDF (Zahal) continues to draw lessons and themes from this seemingly unpredictable wave.
What is Driving the Terror Wave?
A culture of incitement continues to be a main element of this current uptick in violence. Palestinian television, educational institutions, religious leaders, and social media platforms have created an atmosphere in which terror is celebrated. Additionally, the popularity and accessibility of social media has made carrying out an attack easier and virtually undetectable. Instructional videos demonstrate how to attack Israelis with knives, cars, and rocks.
This environment solidifies perceived Palestinian anger and desperation, and results in further violence. Without alternative methods and goals, terror will continue to be the preferred option for Palestinian youth.
The Role of Palestinian Terror Organizations
This wave of violence has seen an increase in individual attackers without previous planning or associations with terror organizations. While Hamas and others may have not been at the forefront, they have taken advantage of Palestinian sentiment by praising and declaring a third intifada against Israel.
Additionally, they have utilized the fragile security situation in order to help create Hamas terror cells in Abu Dis, Bethlehem, and other locations in Judea and Samaria.
Lessons and Conclusions
There is a certain element of randomness to the wave of attacks since October 1st. These attacks are difficult to defend against, but certain measures have prevented them as well as limited their number and scope. Social media activity and its influence on Palestinian youth has been given more attention. Violent and religious language on social media platforms have been identified as possible intentions for carrying out an attack. This has helped curb attacks, but it’s impossible to prevent every act of violence.
Knives used in Jerusalem stabbing attack on December 23rd
The IDF (Zahal) has implemented and strengthened security measures in order to address the current situation. Cooperation between intelligence and the IDF (Zahal) continues to be solidified, and arrests of Hamas operatives continue to be pivotal in thwarting further violence. Additionally, forces have increased their presence at volatile areas in Judea and Samaria. Forces continue to train in light of the new challenges, including courses in Krav Maga which prove to be a vital tool in stopping stabbings.
Most importantly, the IDF (Zahal) is doing all within its power to maintain normalcy and routine for both Israelis and Palestinians during this difficult time.