(Communicated by Israeli security sources)

A comparison of the number of attacks within Israel carried out by Samaria-based terrorists after the anti-terrorist fence was built, and the number of attacks carried out by the same terrorist groups before the building of the fence, reveals a drop of some 90 percent in the ability of these terrorist groups to perpetrate attacks within Israel.

In the 11 months between the erection of the first segment at the beginning of August 2003 and the end of June 2004, the Samaria-based terrorist groups have succeeded in carrying out only three atrocities within Israel. All three occurred in the first half of 2003, during which 26 Israelis were murdered and 76 wounded. (In two of the cases, the terrorists infiltrated via areas in Samaria where the fence was not yet completed. In the third, a female terrorist entered through the Barta’a crossing using a Jordanian passport.)

In contrast, during the 34 months from the beginning of the violence in September 2000 until the construction of the first continuous segment of the anti-terrorist fence at the end of July 2003, between Salem and Elkana in Samaria, Samaria-based terrorists carried out 73 atrocities (suicide bombings, shootings, car bombings) within Israel (including Jerusalem) in which 293 Israelis were killed and 1950 wounded.

Of these 73 attacks, 32 in which 145 Israelis were murdered and 723 wounded were carried out after the beginning of Operation Defensive Shield (31 March 2003), when IDF units were deployed throughout Judea and Samaria.

A comparison of the above data shows a decrease of slightly more than 90% in the number of attacks: from an average of 26 attacks a year before the fence, to three attacks after erection of the anti-terrorist fence. This means a decrease of more than 70% in the number of Israelis murdered: from an average of 103 slain per year before the fence to 28 after erection of the fence. Similarly, this means a drop of more than 85% in the number of wounded: from an average of 688 a year before the fence to 83 wounded per year after it was built.

While the number of attacks dropped sharply, the number of attempted attacks that were foiled in various stages of preparation since the erection of the anti-terrorist fence in August 2003 remained high. During this period, the security forces prevented dozens of attacks by Samaria-based terrorist groups in the final stages of preparation. As a result of the arrests of terrorists and heads of cells, 24 explosive belts and bombs were discovered.

The conclusion is inescapable that a major factor in the sharp drop in the number of attacks carried out in Israel by Samaria-based terrorists in the past few months is the effect of the anti-terrorist fence on their operational patterns. This is in addition to the various preventive actions taken by the army in Judea and Samaria, particularly since Operation Defensive Shield.

The success of the anti-terrorist fence in Samaria means that the launching point for terrorists has been moved to Judea. In the last few months, Judea – where there is not yet a continuous fence – has become the main base for dispatching terrorists (including Samaria-based terrorists) into Israel. In more than half of the dozens of attacks-in-planning that were foiled since the erection of the anti-terrorist fence, the terrorists intended to infiltrate Israel by way of Judea, usually via Jerusalem and Ramallah.

Despite their efforts, all of the attempts by Samaria-based terrorists to infiltrate Israel via Judea since the erection of the anti-terrorist fence have been thwarted by the security forces.