Last week, the IDF and Shin Bet carried out a decisive raid against the Lions’ Den, an upstart West Bank-based terrorist group that, although financed by Hamas, operates outside of the framework of the major Palestinian organizations, and has been responsible for several attacks during the preceding weeks. But informed observers believe it unlikely that terror will abate—as evidenced by the stabbing a police officer in Jerusalem yesterday. Yaakov Lappin writes:
Moshe Elad, one of the founders of security coordination between the Israel Defense Forces and the Palestinian Authority, and a lecturer at the Western Galilee College in northern Israel, told JNS: “We will apparently hear more about other groups . . . who succeed the Lions’ Den, because Palestinian history points to imitation as a central motive in this society.”
In previous years, he noted, “There were the ‘Hawks of Fatah’ and the ‘Eagles of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,’ and other Lions’ Dens of Fatah—in other words, the [use of animal imagery] is a winning and prestigious message.”
“Lions’ Den is perceived as a winning organization” by Palestinians despite its leading members killed and arrested and some of its members turning themselves in, he said. “In Palestinian tradition, failure becomes dazzling victory,” he added.
With regard to the Palestinian Authority (PA), he continued, its decision to place some members of the Lions’ Den in protective custody is part of “the old revolving-door policy, and it is likely that news will soon emerge of their release” following public pressure.
Yet the PA is in an unenviable position. The Lions’ Den is openly opposed to the PA’s leadership, but efforts to suppress it—beyond behind-the-scenes coordination with Israel—will only further undermine President Mahmoud Abbas’s popularity. At the same time, the further success of terrorist groups will eventually provoke a large-scale Israeli response, which will be equally damaging to Abbas and his supporters.