A key part of the strategy behind Hamas’s weekly border protests—made explicit by its leader Yahya Sinwar—is to mix its fighters among peaceful demonstrators, so that there is a high likelihood of civilian casualties if the IDF returns fire. Similarly, Hizballah has positioned its military installations and supply depots so that nearly one-third of Lebanese Shiites are serving as de-facto human shields. In December, Congress passed a law sanctioning such activities, mentioning both organizations by name. Mark Dubowitz and Orde Kittrie discuss the extent of the problem posed by the use of human shields—which are employed by Islamic State, the Taliban, and other terrorist groups—and how the new law can make a difference. (Interview by Clifford May. Audio, 38 minutes.)
A New U.S. Law Can Combat the Use of Human Shields
Iran’s Responsibility for West Bank Terror
On Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer and was then shot by another officer after trying to grab his rifle. Commenting on the many similar instances of West Bank-based terror during the past several months, Amit Saar, a senior IDF intelligence officer, predicted that the violence will likely grow worse in the coming year. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the Islamic Republic’s role in fueling this wave of terrorism:
The escape of six terrorists from Gilboa prison in September 2021 was the catalyst for the establishment of new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, according to senior Islamic Jihad officials. The initiative to establish new armed groups was undertaken by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in coordination with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, implementing the strategy of Qassem Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards who was assassinated in Iraq by the U.S.—of using proxies to achieve the goals of expansion of the Iranian regime.
After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups under the name of “Battalions,” which also include terrorists from other organizations such as Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. First, the “Jenin Battalion” was established in the city of Jenin, followed the “Nablus Battalion.”
Despite large-scale arrest operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad continues to form new terrorist groups, including the “Tulkarem Battalion,” the “Tubas Battalion,” and the “Balata Battalion” in the Balata refugee camp.