There Is No Eruption of Settler Violence

In the past few weeks, there have been numerous reports in Western media of a wave of “settler violence” committed against Palestinians in the West Bank. The phenomenon has led to condemnations from the French and U.S. governments, reports from the UN and various hostile NGOs, and a casual determination by the Guardian—a widely read and viciously anti-Israel publication—that what is happening amounts to “ethnic cleansing.” But the facts paint a very different picture. David M. Weinberg explains, drawing on statistics compiled by the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency:

Overall, the level of violence in 2023 is about the same as that of 2022, totaling about 1,000 incidences of violence of all types over the course of the full year. “Violence” in this context means many different things, from verbal altercations and rock throwing (what the Shin Bet calls “frictions” or “harassment”), to spray-painting of anti-Arab slogans and other undercover vandalism including agricultural vandalism (“price-tag activities”), to firebombing of homes or mosques (which are classified as outright “terrorist strikes”).

In fact, the more serious type of incidents dropped by 50 percent as compared to last year (although the handful of incidents that did take place this year were of a more violent nature), and there were zero incidents of “terrorist strikes” over the past 60 days. There is no evidence whatsoever of the wild accusation [by the Israel-based human-rights group B’Tselem] that “600 Palestinians from thirteen communities were forced to abandon their homes” due to fear of settler attacks.

It is unfortunately true that altercations and aggressions by settlers in 2022 (again, not 2023) rose sharply over those in 2020 and 2021. . . . This is unacceptable, and I hold no wellsprings of sympathy for the hilltop wild men involved. Israel must aggressively combat this lawlessness while acting even more aggressively against exponentially greater and more deadly Palestinian terrorism. But has there been an enormous, out-of-control surge in settler violence recently? No.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Terrorism, West Bank

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security