The Cabinet, at its weekly meeting on Sunday 2 Nissan, received a security briefing from a senior ISA official. Following are the main points:
In recent months, and especially in recent weeks, there has been a considerable decline in the number of terrorist attacks committed by Palestinians, including significant attacks. (There were 20 significant attacks in March 2016 compared to 78 in October 2015. In April, to date, there have been only three significant attacks.)
The main reason for the major decline in the number of terrorist attacks is Israel’s ramified counter-terrorist operations including effective counter-terrorist operations against Hamas which significantly increased its efforts to carry out attacks during this period (including abductions and suicide attacks), effective deterrent measures to prevent additional attacks and determined action against Palestinian incitement. All of these were in the context of an effort not to disrupt the fabric of life of a majority of the Palestinian population, which is not involved in terrorism, and to continue cooperation with the Palestinian security services.
The foregoing has left a sense among the Palestinian public (especially lone terrorists) that escalation is useless.
Approximately six months since the start of the escalation (from October 1), Palestinian terrorists have committed approximately 270 significant terrorist attacks and attempted attacks including shootings, stabbings and vehicular attacks. As a result of these, 29 Israelis and four foreign nationals have been killed. Approximately 250 civilians have also been wounded.
Most of the attacks are isolated, perpetrated by youth, some for nationalistic motives, but mostly for personal reasons (economic or personal hardships).
Alongside these attacks, terrorist organizations, especially Hamas, have been trying in recent months to carry out major attacks in Yehuda, Shomron and Israel in order to accelerate the escalation.
The ISA and the security establishment have foiled over 290 significant attacks since the beginning of 2015 (most in the past six months) including 25 abductions and 15 suicide attacks.
At the same time, it is possible to discern considerable effectiveness in thwarting Jewish terrorism, with emphasis on exposing the infrastructure which perpetrated the Duma and various other attacks (arson of the Church of the Loaves and Fishes, etc.). These also contributed to calming the situation.
But still there is considerable tension and there are various elements (mainly Palestinian terrorists and others) who are working incessantly to undermine stability.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)