A Recent Shooting Is a Reminder of the Constant Threat of West Bank Terror

Dec. 13 2018

Monday night, a Palestinian terrorist opened fire at a bus stop in the Israeli town of Ofra, wounding seven people, including a pregnant woman whose baby, despite doctors’ heroic efforts, died yesterday morning. Just two months ago, a terrorist succeeded in killing two Israelis in the Barkan industrial zone. Yoav Limor writes that these attacks don’t reflect an “uptick” in terror but an ongoing problem:

On a nightly basis, dozens of army and police teams, mainly under the direction of the Shin Bet security agency, operate to thwart terrorist attacks. From the beginning of the year until Tuesday morning, over 530 significant terrorist attacks—bombs, abductions, car-rammings, stabbings, shootings—have been prevented, and more than 4,000 Palestinians have been detained. During this period, ten Israelis were murdered and 76 wounded in Judea and Samaria.

By comparison, although the northern and the southern sectors have occupied the most attention these past two months, [they have borne a much smaller death toll]. There have not been any casualties along the borders with Lebanon and Syria, while in the Gaza sector two IDF officers have been killed and a Palestinian living in Ashkelon was killed by a Hamas rocket attack.

While the potential for a dangerous escalation in the north and south is considerably greater, in Judea and Samaria the routine is one of consistent bloodshed. It is barely news when Molotov cocktails and stones are thrown at IDF troops, and localized clashes—some of them admittedly instigated by radical [Jewish] elements in the settlement movement—are hardly noticed. . . .

Hamas, via its headquarters in Gaza and Turkey, is investing tremendous energy in carrying out attacks. While the terrorist group has sought to reduce the flames in Gaza, it wants to ignite a powder keg in Judea and Samaria. To this end, it is trying to exploit a situation that is already unstable for numerous reasons: the lack of a successor to the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas, the stalled peace process, economic frustrations. . . . There will always be that one cell or lone terrorist who sneaks through the cracks.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank

The Riots on the Gaza Border are Carefully Coordinated Attacks on Israel, and Should Be Treated as Such

Jan. 16 2019

On Friday, the weekly riots at the Gaza security fence resumed in full force: 13,000 people participated, and a Palestinian woman was apparently killed by Israeli gunfire. The UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR) had established a commission of inquiry in May, not long after these riots began, “to investigate all alleged violations and abuses of international humanitarian law and international human-rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, . . . particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military assaults on the large-scale civilian protests that began on March 20, 2018.” In a report to the commission, Richard Kemp, a retired senior British officer, concludes, after investigating the situation at the Gaza border, that there is no evidence whatsoever of Israeli wrongdoing, and that the commission is operating under faulty assumptions:

The terms of [the commission’s] mandate are self-evidently biased against the state of Israel and the IDF. The context cited—“the military assaults on the large-scale civilian protests”—make clear that the UNHRC either failed to understand what was happening on the ground or deliberately misrepresented the reality. In addition, the commission’s mandate terms the Gaza Strip “Occupied Palestinian Territories,” which it is not. . . .

[T]he so-called “civilian protests” in reality were, and continue to be, a deliberate military operation, orchestrated and controlled by Hamas, [a] terrorist group that has been waging an armed conflict against Israel for many years. Their intention was and remains to kill and wound IDF soldiers, to break through the border fence, to murder and maim innocent civilians, to destroy property, and to compel the IDF to take defensive action resulting in the death of Gaza civilians for exploitation in the international arena. [Israel’s] “military assaults” were not what was implied by this prejudicial mandate. They were in fact lawful, proportionate, and restrained defensive actions. . . .

Suggestions that these demonstrations are [protests] against Israeli policy toward the Gaza Strip are demonstrably false and easily refuted by cursory viewing of Hamas and other public statements made at the time of the events. . . . Further, it is clear that Hamas intended this violence to continue its long-standing strategy of creating and intensifying international outrage, vilification, isolation, and criminalization of the state of Israel and its officials. . . .

[T]he starkest indication that these events were entirely under Hamas control is the simple fact that, when it suited Hamas’s political interests, the [demonstrations] occurred and were of a violent nature, and when such actions did not serve Hamas’s interests, the border was quiet. As the most recent example of this, in November 2018, Qatar began to make large cash payments to Hamas in Gaza. The most recent payment of $15 million was handed over in December 2018. These payments are reportedly part of an agreement with Hamas to diminish violence along the Gaza border. [After] the first payment, the border violence [was] reduced [and the] demonstrations [became] far more restrained.

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Read more at Colonel Richard Kemp

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, IDF, Israel & Zionism, Laws of war, UNHRC