(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Office)
The year 2005 was marked by the "tahdia" (declared calm) that was announced on 22 January 2005 and according to which, the Palestinian groups committed themselves to refrain from perpetrating terrorist actions against Israel.
However, despite the aforesaid commitment, 2,990 terrorist attacks were perpetrated against Israeli targets in 2005. The firing of Kassam rockets even increased in 2005, as compared to 2004, with 377 rocket attacks in 2005, as opposed to 309 in 2004.
An increase in the number of terrorist attacks was also apparent in Judea, with 379 attacks after the 22 January 2005 declaration, as opposed to 288 attacks in the same time frame before the declaration. The most significant decline was registered in the Gaza Strip, with 1,205 attacks after the 22 January 2005 declaration, as opposed to 2,637 before.
Regarding the number and level of warnings in 2005, there was no real change in the terrorist organizations’ motivation to attack Israeli targets. The number of monthly warnings remained for the most part fairly high.
There was a significant decline in the number of Israeli casualties. Forty-five Israelis (37 civilians and eight members of the security forces) were killed in 2005, as opposed to 117 (76 civilians and 41 members of the security forces) in 2004, a decline of approximately 60%. Twenty-three of these were killed in seven suicide attacks (55 Israelis were killed in 15 suicide attacks in 2004).
There was also a decline, albeit more moderate, in the number of Israelis wounded in terrorist attacks in 2005: 406 (302 civilians and 104 members of the security forces), as opposed to 589 (394 civilians and 195 members of the security forces) in 2004, a decline of approximately 30%.
The decline in the number of Israeli casualties stems, inter alia, from the foiling or disruption primarily of suicide attacks. The ISA arrested 160 potential suicide terrorists in Judea and Samaria in 2005.
Terrorist attacks during the "tahdia – geographical breakdown
Suicide attacks 2004/2005
Potential suicide terrorists arrested in Judea and Samaria in 2005, breakdown by organization
The Seam Zone
In 2005, the operational infrastructures in Samaria succeeded in perpetrating four large-scale terrorist attacks inside Israel, in which 21 Israelis were murdered and 231 wounded (as opposed to two large-scale terrorist attacks in 2004, in which 14 Israelis were murdered and 106 were wounded.
The foregoing increase may be attributed to the terrorist organizations’ exploitation of weak points at the crossings and the transfer of departure points to Judea in which still lacks a continuous barrier. Accordingly, Judea and especially Jerusalem serve as points from which terrorists are infiltrated into Israel.
The large-scale terrorist attacks thus perpetrated in 2005 include:
The 12 July 2005 suicide-bombing at the Sharon Mall in Netanya, in which five people were murdered and approximately 90 were wounded;
The 28 August 2005 suicide-attack in Beersheba (carried out by a Hamas infrastructure in Dahariya, which exploited the lack of a fence in the southern Hebron Hills area);
The 26 October 2005 suicide-bombing in Hadera, in which six people were murdered and approximately 55 were wounded (and in which Islamic Jihad infiltrated the suicide-terrorist via the Jerusalem area).
It should be noted that during the 34 months of confrontation (beginning on 29 September 2000) up until the establishment of the security fence in July 2003, operational infrastructures in Samaria perpetrated 73 deadly large-scale terrorist attacks (suicide attacks and/or car bombs) inside Israel, in which 293 Israelis were murdered and 1,950 were wounded. In the 28 months following August 2003 and up to December 2005, they succeeded in perpetrating 11 such attacks inside Israel, in which 54 Israelis were murdered and 358 were wounded.
Efforts by terrorist organizations in Judea and Samaria to establish infrastructures for the production of mortar rounds and rockets
During 2005, the terrorist organizations have increased their efforts to establish infrastructures for producing mortar rounds and rockets in Judea and Samaria in order to both circumvent the obstacle posed by the security fence in infiltrating suicide terrorists into Israel and to move the main focus of their efforts to Judea and Samaria following the implementation of the Disengagement Plan. In 2005, eight such infrastructures (four affiliated with Hamas and four with the Tanzim and Islamic Jihad) were uncovered.
Smuggling of arms, ammunition and explosives into the Gaza Strip during 2005
The withdrawal of the IDF from the Philadelphi corridor in September 2005 led to a significant increase in the quantity of arms and ammunition smuggled into the Gaza Strip in comparison to first eight months of 2005. Since 12 September 2005, over five tons of explosives, approximately 200 anti-tank rocket launchers, approximately 350 anti-tank rockets, approximately 5,000 automatic rifles, over one million rounds of ammunition and a limited number of anti-aircraft rockets have been smuggled from Egypt into the Gaza Strip. The peak of this smuggling occurred during 12-18 September 2005. In comparison, approximately 200 anti-tank rocket launchers, approximately 50 anti-tank rockets, approximately 1,800 automatic rifles and a considerable amount of ammunition were smuggled in during the first eight months of 2005.
The foregoing smuggling is part of the terrorist organizations’ efforts to build up their strength in preparation for a possible resumption of fighting after the collapse of the "tahdia".
Their declared commitments notwithstanding, members of the various Palestinian Authority (PA) security services that are deployed along the border with Egypt continue to play an active part in the smuggling of arms and ammunition.
Smuggling from the Gaza Strip into Israel via the Sinai and Negev
Since the departure of IDF forces from the Gaza Strip (including the Philadelphi corridor), there has been a dramatic increase in attempts to perpetrate terrorist attacks in Israel and establish terrorist infrastructures in Judea and Samaria by exploiting the unfenced Sinai-Negev border area.
This area is also used by smugglers, criminals and persons looking for work illegally in Israel. Frequently, there is close cooperation between terrorists and criminal elements in southern Israel.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad in 2005
Hamas was intensively involved in terrorist actions throughout 2005 despite the "tahdia". Hamas was responsible for the suicide bombing at the Beersheba bus station on 28 August 2005 in which two security guards were seriously wounded. In September 2005, Hamas terrorists abducted and murdered Jerusalem businessman Sasson Nuriel.
While refraining from publicly claiming responsibility for terror attacks, maintaining the outward semblance of abiding by the "tahdia", or declared calm, Hamas assisted other terrorist groups in carrying out attacks against Israel.
Hamas is due to participate in the upcoming PA elections without having disarmed or renounced terrorism.
Islamic Jihad was also intensively involved in terrorist actions throughout 2005 despite the "tahdia" – such as the February 25 bombing at the Tel-Aviv Stage Club and the December 5 bombing at the Sharon Mall in Netanya. The organization particularly benefited from the PA’s ineffectualness and refusal to take any tangible action against it.
The security forces foiled numerous planned Islamic Jihad terrorist attacks in 2005.