Israel's terror wave is becoming a tsunami

Opinion: The more terror organizations believe they can carry out attacks despite intervention by security forces, the more brazen and frequent these attacks become; Israel must plan out targeted operations that will deter terrorists while staying away from the general Palestinian population
Ron Ben-Yishai|
Footage of escaped terrorist from Eli settlemetn neutralized by security forces
Security forces’ entanglement during an operation in Jenin on Monday created in West Bank Palestinians, especially those affiliated with terror organizations, a desire for revenge alongside a sense of accomplishment.
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The rescue operations conducted by the IDF, which took about nine hours, likely contributed to a perception that the Palestinian resistance in the West Bank has found a formula for success, a result of increased use of explosives and opening fire on moving vehicles on Israeli roads.
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אירוע ירי ליד עלי
אירוע ירי ליד עלי
Scene of terror attack in the Eli settlement
(Photo: Reuters)
The desire for revenge, coupled with the boost in motivation from their successful resistance, is what led to the Palestinians’ intensified violent activities that began Monday with a car-ramming attack that injured two IDF soldiers and continued on Tuesday with a terror attack at the Eli settlement’s gas station.
One can see in this series of events, which began in Jenin, a turn for the worse both in terms of the terrorists’ motivation and their capabilities to confront and harm the IDF and the security forces, whichis leading to Israel’s loss of deterrence.
Such a situation may spiral out of control and turn into a third intifada which will involve large segments of the Palestinian population in all parts of the West Bank, and which could also motivate Palestinians in Gaza to act.
Hamas took responsibility for the attack, and it’s evident – based on the weapons used, the operation’s planning, and the escaped terrorist’s intentions to stay alive – that this was a relatively well-trained terror cell.
The two assailants are from the Palestinian village of Urif, located about 13 kilometers south of Nablus, meaning it is also located in the northern West Bank, and it’s possible that the Hamas terror cell was waiting to be called from there.
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שר הביטחון יואב גלנט, הרטמכ"ל הרצי הלוי וראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו הערכת מצב לאחר הפיגוע בעלי
שר הביטחון יואב גלנט, הרטמכ"ל הרצי הלוי וראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו הערכת מצב לאחר הפיגוע בעלי
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi in a situation assessement following the attack
(Photo: Defense Ministry)
This situation requires changes in combat tactics and increased pressure on potential terrorists, both through intelligence gathering and through field operations, both defensively and offensively.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, following a situation assessment later on Tuesday, ordered the bolstering of forces along the West Bank’s main roads and for defending nearby Israeli settlements. The Shin Bet will likely increase its activities to gather intelligence and target potential terror suspects.
However, this isn’t enough: In order to cut off what appears to be an ongoing wave of Palestinian terror attacks, despite efforts by the Shin Bet and the IDF, offensive action is needed.
At the same time, everything must be done to limit the scope of such operations and avoid measures that would harm the Palestinian population as a whole in the West Bank.
What is needed right now isn’t a new Defensive Shield operation, but rather a series of smaller, focused operations in Jenin, Nablus, and the surrounding areas.
The operations aren’t intended to occupy the territory, but aim to close off and limit the area from which attacks can be launched, including within Jenin and Nablus themselves. The moves will be conducted based on intelligence provided by the Shin Bet, indicating the location of weapons caches, explosives labs, and key operatives within terror groups.
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איתמר בן גביר
איתמר בן גביר
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has called for targeted airstrikes against West Bank targets
(Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s demands to "demolish buildings and carry out targeted airstrikes" will achieve nothing except to push Palestinian youths – young adults who have thus far kept their distance from violence – back into the cycle of terror.
The focus should be on the northern West Bank, primarily around the cities of Nablus and Jenin, where significant damage needs to be done to terrorist infrastructure, while also conducting arrests and other intelligence-gathering moves that will allow for impactful results.
In the rest of the West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority operated, the main emphasis should be on defensive operations along the main road, including checkpoints on the highways used by Palestinians and Israeli settlers.
The IDF should be prepared to put up random checkpoints and perhaps even close the entrances and exits of Palestinian villages from which terror attacks originated, but not in a complete manner – rather, on a targeted basis based on intelligence gathering.
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19.6 חמושים פלסטינים ב ג'נין מתעמתים עם כוחות צה"ל
19.6 חמושים פלסטינים ב ג'נין מתעמתים עם כוחות צה"ל
Palestinian terrorists in Jenin target Israeli security forces
(Photo: Reuters)
This will still affect the economy and the way of life in these areas of the West Bank, but to a lesser extent than a full-blown military operation.
In the northern West Bank, the impact is unavoidable, but even there efforts should be made to operate in a focused manner that distinguishes between the population that supports terror and those who are completely uninvolved with it.
Experience has shown that a functioning economy, a way of life and a significant presence of Palestinian security mechanisms contribute to security more than any other means.
The IDF, Shin Bet and Border Police need to focus on disrupting the production of explosives, finding illegal weapons, and apprehending potential terror suspects.
This mission is complex: forces must do so in a targeted manner and according to intelligence data, so that at its end – in a few weeks or days – they will be able to leave the area and put an end to the wave of terror attacks that we’ve seen since March 2022, which continue to become deadlier.
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