Shin Bet : Number of attacks against Israelis by individuals went up 50 percent since 2012
A young man wounded in a shooting attack in the West Bank died of his wounds at a Jerusalem hospital on Tuesday, after medical teams worked around the clock in an attempt to save his life.
Malachi Rosenfeld, 27, from Kochav Hashahar, was one of four men shot at close range by gunmen in a passing car near Shvut Rahel, some 45 km. north of Jerusalem.
More than a dozen bullets were fired into the vehicle, killing Rosenfeld and wounding three of his friends.
The four were returning from a basketball game at a nearby settlement when they were shot.
There have been six terrorist attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem in the past week and a half.
Security officials believe that the latest attack was not the work of a lone wolf terrorist but a well planned, sophisticated attack carried out by a cell operating somewhere in Samaria, the northern part of the West Bank.
Both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon blamed the Palestinian Authority (PA) for “inciting” the attacks, saying that Palestinians are watching inciting PA programming on TV during the daily Ramadan fast and then heading out at night to kill civilians.
“The fact that the Palestinian Authority has still not condemned these terrorist attacks should disturb not only us but the entire international community,” Netanyahu said.
“The attempts to harm us have not stopped for a moment,” Netanyahu said.
“We expect different behavior from our Palestinian neighbours, and this is something that is in the interest of all those who seek peace,” he added.
Hamas, the Islamist group governing Gaza, praised the latest shooting, with Hussam Badran, a spokesman for the organization in Qatar, saying it indicates that the West Bank is returning to the days of the second intifada, when such attacks were far more frequent.
According to Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yoeram Cohen, Israel’s security forces stopped most terrorist attacks by organized groups, but were less successful in stopping individual attackers,
Speaking to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, he mentioned that in 2014, the number of attacks by individuals went up 50 percent since 2012, when there were 683, to 1,834, with terrorism spiking during Operation Protective Edge. The figures include instances of rock-throwing, fire bombs and stabbings, as well as other types of attacks.
The Shin Bet stopped 130 terrorist cells in 2014 and 60 in 2015 so far, most of which were part of Hamas.
Speaking at the meeting that was closed to press, Cohen explained that terrorist organizations have difficulties attacking, because the Shin Bet and IDF successfully stopped them so many times, and most of the attacks were by individuals or unorganized groups.
The Shin Bet chief said cooperation with the Palestinian Authority on security is what allows the PA to survive, despite Hamas activity. He cited moderating factors in the West Bank, like a relatively stable economy and the public’s desire to protect its personal welfare, as factors that are more effective and significant than those that could destabilize the area, such as the lack of a diplomatic horizon, international triggers or any efforts Hamas has made.
Palestinians are more focused on economic welfare and are relatively passive when it comes to a possible conflict, he added. PA President Mahmoud Abbas is trying to build his legacy by promoting unilateral actions against Israel through the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court, which are meant to promote a boycott of Israel, Cohen said.
Cohen discussed the significant allowances Israel made for Palestinians during Ramadan, allowing many more than usual to pray on the Temple Mount and lowering the age of entry. However, the PA did not implement some of the allowances, as part of their rejectionist stance to everything Israel does.