A Terrorist Plunges a Knife into the Israeli-Palestinian Economic Symbiosis

Nov. 18 2022

On Tuesday, Mohammad Murad Souf entered the West Bank city of Ariel and went on a rampage of stabbing and ramming cars into traffic that left three dead. The attack comes not long after an IDF crackdown on the upstart terrorist group the Lions’ Den, which led to a modest decrease in terrorism. What is unusual about Souf is that he is one of the 130,000 Palestinians who possess permits to enter Israeli-controlled areas to work. Yaakov Lappin comments:

The IDF already has 26 battalions stationed in Judea and Samaria—a very large number—as part of “Operation Break the Wave,” launched in March in response to a series of terror attacks, and it is unlikely that this incident will result in further deployments at this time.

According to Doron Matza, a specialist on Palestinian issues, Israeli Arabs, and Middle Eastern affairs, as well as a former senior official in the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), the past months have made it clear that a growing number of Palestinians are rejecting the deal that Israel has been offering them: economic well-being and stability in exchange for security quiet.

“If you look at the full Palestinian and Arab system between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, there are signs that the old order is falling apart. This was an order characterized by security stability based on a kind of political-economic-security deal—unwritten—between Israel and Palestinian elites,” Matza said. This arrangement saw Israel provide a level of autonomy to Palestinians including the facilitation of Palestinian institutions that can pay salaries and provide status symbols to those—security forces and civilians—affiliated with and benefiting from the economic cooperation with Israel, he argued.

And so, Matza said, the decision by the terrorist on Tuesday to strike at the Ariel industrial zone is symbolic of a desire to “plunge a knife into a place where economic symbiosis between Israelis and Palestinians occurs.”

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank

Will America Invite Israel to Join Its Multinational Coalitions?

From the Korean War onward, the U.S. has rarely fought wars alone, but has instead led coalitions of various allied states. Israel stands out in that it has close military and diplomatic relations with Washington yet its forces have never been part of these coalitions—even in the 1991 Gulf War, when Iraqi missiles were raining down on its cities. The primary reason for its exclusion was the sensitivity of participating Arab and Muslim nations. But now that Jerusalem has diplomatic relations with several Arab countries and indeed regularly participates alongside them in U.S.-led joint military exercises, David Levy believes it may someday soon be asked to contribute to an American expedition.

It is unlikely that Israel would be expected by the U.S. to deploy the Golani [infantry] brigade or any other major army unit. Instead, Washington will likely solicit areas of IDF niche expertise. These include missile defense and special forces, two areas in which Israel is a world leader. The IDF has capabilities that it can share by providing trainers and observers. Naval and air support would also be expected as these assets are inherently deployable. Israel can also provide allies in foreign wars with intelligence and cyber-warfare support, much of which can be accomplished without the physical deployment of troops.

Jerusalem’s previous reasons for abstention from coalitions were legitimate. Since its independence, Israel has faced existential threats. Conventional Arab armies sought to eliminate the nascent state in 1948-49, 1967, and again in 1973. This danger remained ever-present until the 1978 signing of the Camp David Accords, which established peace between Egypt and Israel. Post-Camp David, the threats to Israel remain serious but are no longer existential. If Iran were to become a nuclear power, this would pose a new existential threat. Until then, Israel is relatively well secured.

Jerusalem’s new Arab allies would welcome its aid. Western capitals, especially Washington, should be expected to pursue Israel’s military assistance, and Jerusalem will have little choice but to acquiesce to the expeditionary expectation.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: IDF, U.S. military, U.S.-Israel relationship