How Israel Beat the Terror Wave

June 24, 2022 | Hillel Frisch
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From March to May, a series of small-scale terrorist attacks claimed the lives of some twenty Israelis, and raised fears that jihadist murder would again become a fact of everyday life in the Jewish state. Hillel Frisch details how a swift campaign waged by the IDF and Shin Bet, employing deliberate and discriminate force, succeeded in restoring the peace:

The response, dubbed the “Wave Breaker” campaign, was not qualitatively different from ordinary IDF operations in Judea and Samaria conducted since the spring of 2002, when the IDF entered major towns in territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA). . . . Israeli forces, [in response to the attacks], consistently entered these towns and their environs almost daily to make arrests, which led to a 90-percent decrease in terrorism.

Israel’s heightened use of force was reflected in the increasing number of arrests. During January and February preceding the beginning of the wave, 456 and 448 arrests were made, respectively. This increased dramatically to 1,128 arrests in April after the Wave Breaker campaign began.

The effectiveness of this increased use of force is plain to see. . . . However, one cannot disregard the importance of other more defensive measures. For example, soldiers were sent to fill in the gaps in the security fence.

Three important lessons should be learned from confronting the recent wave. First, the security forces should quicken their response after a terrorist attack or when signs appear that attacks could be forthcoming. . . . Second, the security establishment must be forever wary of relying on the PA to do the work for them. Third, refraining from using force rather than exercising it encourages terrorism.

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