Shin Ben chief Ronen Bar warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the strategic danger posed by violence against Palestinians perpetrated by settlers, even before two deadly incidents over the weekend. Ynet has learned that Bar told Netanyahu that Palestinians were expected to increase their attempts to attack Israelis in retaliation.
Bar said Jewish terror incites Palestinian terror, bolstering the Islamic Jihad and Hamas. He also warned that there was an increased danger that a settler may be abducted during an incursion into a Palestinian village.
On Friday, settlers shot and killed a Palestinian from the village of Burqa and wounded three others after entering the village and clashing with local residents and on Saturday, a security guard was shot and killed by a Palestinian who allegedly planned to carry out a terror attack in Tel Aviv.
Bar also told the prime minister that the military was diverted from critical training regimes in light of the increased violence that required the deployment of many of its forces to the West Bank.
A similar warning was made repeatedly by the IDF and again just over one week ago, warning that Iran and their Hezbollah proxies were also emboldened, and a change in the military's response was needed but could not be executed under the current circumstances with Israeli society fractured over the judicial legislation. Israel's enemies, both behind closed doors and out in the open, see the divisions in Israel as a source of weakness, the security officials say, providing evidence to back their claims.
Over the last six months, the security services were alerted to hundreds of daily attempts to launch attacks and the Shin Ben and other counter-terror units were able to foil dozens of them at the last moment, including suicide missions, explosive devices, abduction and car-ramming, reaching some 450 such successful interventions during that time and resulting in the arrests of over 1,700 suspected terrorists. Those numbers indicate a need for sufficient investigators, detention facilities and attorneys to carry out prosecutions, to name but a few.
But the security forces have not only been faced with growing Palestinian terror attempts. They are also required to respond to an increase in Jewish terror, which is seen as further motivation for Palestinians to act.
In his presentation to the prime minister, Bar said the number of Palestinian casualties and the destruction to Palestinian property, will lead to retaliation that would cost Jewish lives. His warnings were echoed by Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi.
The violence perpetrated by settlers harms the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority's security services which are expected to take measures against Hamas and Islamic Jihad actions in the West Bank. Iran's interests are served by Israeli's need to address West Bank violence, at the expense of other fronts and much of the military's force is deployed there. Ynet can report for the first time that the IDF's training schedule has been impacted, leaving it less prepared for war.
The responsibility of the government is clear. Handing authority over some responsibilities in the West Bank to Religious Zionist leader Bezalel Smotrich, lax treatment of illegal outposts, few administrative detentions of suspects among the settlers and the support they perceive from members of the coalition who attack the military commanders – are all factors in disrupting the efforts by security forces, to contain the violence and carry out its primary mission of preventing terror.
The failure of the security services, to prevent a terrorist from Jenin from entering Israel over the weekend, armed with a weapon, for the purpose of launching a terror attack in Tel Aviv, is an example of such a problem. Although it is clearly a failing of the Shin Bet and the IDF, the current surge in Jewish terrorism requires the IDF to double its forces, although it should fall to the police to respond to those threats.
The military is already struggling with the potential harm brought about by the refusal of volunteers to the reserves, to show up for service amid their protests over the government's legislative push to alter the balance of power between the judicial branch and the government and Knesset, and while Hezbollah is increasing its provocations along the northern border, it appears that the threats to Israel are only increasing.
The security cabinet is set to convene later on Sunday and will be discussing the risks to military preparedness, the situation on the Lebanon border, the PA and the violence on the West Bank. The Biden administration, which has yet to issue an invitation for Netanyahu to visit the White House, has made it clear to officials in Israel, that there it expects significant steps to be taken to bolster the PA. But it is unclear whether Netanyahu has any interest in complying with that request.