How Israel's terror raids in West Bank may eventually backfire

Opinion: While the military operations in the territories are essential for Israel's security, they also serve as motivation for the Palestinian youth to fight 'the occupation' even at the cost of becoming martyrs

Avi Issacharoff|
There is no doubt that Wednesday's operation in Jenin, in which four Palestinian militants were killed, was essential. There is also no doubt that Israeli special units that carried out the operation acted with the utmost professionalism.
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  • Israeli troops arrived at the home of wanted terrorists in the heart of the refugee camp in Jenin during the day, and executed their mission with no casualties to our side - to the acclaim of the Israeli authorities.
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    Israeli troops at the Jenin refugee camp
    Israeli troops at the Jenin refugee camp
    Israeli troops at the Jenin refugee camp
    (Photo: AFP)
    One precise mission, however, as successful as it may be, does not solve the bigger problem at hand. One which the State of Israel and its security echelon will have no choice but to confront in the upcoming weeks and months.
    The problem is that the more Palestinians are killed, the more motivated the Palestinian youth becomes to get up and fight "the occupation." We are not only talking about members of terror organizations such as Hamas or the Islamic Jihad, but also members of Palestinian security apparatus and Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah.
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    עבד חאזם
    עבד חאזם
    Palestinian terrorists Muhammed Alownah and Abed Hazem, who were killed in IDF raid in Jenin
    One of the terrorists killed on Wednesday was Abed Hazem, 27, the brother of the slain terrorist Ra'ad Hazem, who killed three people in a shooting attack in Tel Aviv last April.
    Fathi Hazem, their father, was previously a high-ranking officer in the Palestinian Authority security services, meaning his job included working in close cooperation with Israelis.
    Another slain terrorist turned out to be Muhammed Alownah - responsible for a series of shooting attacks against Israelis in the West Bank. A local photographer accidently captured the moment an Israeli sniper shot the militant. Alownah's sister said on the day of his death that "he wanted to buy a suit for hit sister's wedding and today became a groom himself."
    Palestinian gunman hit by an Israeli sniper in the midst of shootout in Jenin
    ( )
    The recent anti-terror raids by the Shin Bet and IDF in the West Bank are crucial, essential, and efficient. But, they also create another problem. They expand the circle of participates fighting against Israel to groups and organizations that until now preferred to lay low.
    Although the militants find themselves defending themselves far more often tham actually attacking, their deaths raise the motivation levels for others. The result of this is that more and more young Palestinians are getting their hands on weapons, regardless of their political or organizational affiliations.
    In Nablus, for example, a new military group called "The Lion's Den" has taken several blows in recent Israeli operations. This group is made up of dozens of armed individuals that not identify with a specific organization, and they're dead set to avenge the martyrs or "Shahids," killed by Israel.
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    חמושים בהלוויה בג'נין
    חמושים בהלוויה בג'נין
    Armed Palestinian militants attend funeral of a terrorist killed in IDF raid in Jenin
    (Photo: AFP)
    In the center of Ramallah on Wednesday, a march was held in solidarity with Jenin, attended by hundreds of Palestinians, while a general trade strike was declared in the West Bank.
    Jenin, a terror hotbed which Israel has tried to isolate from the rest of the West Bank, is becoming the epitome of struggle against the occupation, which others in the Palestinian territories try to emulate.
    The Israeli officials are aware of the problems such raids are creating, but at this stage there are no other alternatives, since rejecting military action will certainly bring on more terror and bloodshed.
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    מתיחות במסגד אל אקצא לאור כניסת יהודים
    מתיחות במסגד אל אקצא לאור כניסת יהודים
    Stones collected by rioters at Temple Mount
    While the Palestinian Authority is signaling that it is ready to take military action against terror elements in Nablus, it appears to ignore the growing problem in Jenin.
    Israel, understanding it doesn't have many options to chose from, is trying to pressure the PA to take action and deal with the terror threat in Jenin.
    Now is the time to remind all those who are calling for PA's dissolution of the October 2000 events that sparked the Second Intifada after late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount. Then, members of the Palestinian security apparatus joined the fighting against Israel, resulting in 1,500 dead Israelis and 6,000 Palestinians.
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