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.