Palestinian incitement
Ron Ben-Yishai

The failed effort to halt Palestinian incitement

Analysis: Israel tried and failed to interfere with Hamas TV's signal and is now focusing on social media; we can certainly expect this violence to continue for many months.

The IDF and the Shin Bet's efforts are currently focused on keeping the "lone wolf intifada" from turning into an all-out popular uprising. The security services and government are especially worried about the increasing use of homemade firearms and improvised explosives. Furthermore, the incitement in Palestinian social media and on the Hamas affiliated Al-Aqsa television station are other extremely worrying developments.



Efforts are focused on monitoring Facebook, which is flooded with incitement. There are 1.7 million Facebook users in the West Bank, about half of whom are women. This fact helps to explain why there has been an increase in the number of women and teenage girls carrying out attacks. The IDF, in coordination with Palestinian security forces, has stopped dozens of lone wolf attacks by monitoring various Facebook pages.


Incitement not only occurs on social media, but also on Palestinian mass media outlets such as radio and television. The owners of private radio and TV stations in the West Bank were warned by security forces to stop broadcasting incitement, and as a result, some owners are voluntary requesting official confirmation that their broadcasts are not crossing the line into incitement. Some have even toned down the rhetoric in what they broadcast.


Palestinian incitement
Palestinian incitement


However, it recently came to light that the primary source of incitement is not coming from the West Bank, but from the Hamas affiliated Al-Aqsa TV station, which openly calls for the start of a new intifada and the murder of Jews.


A pilot project was carried out by security forces to try and disrupt  Al-Aqsa TV's signal. However, the initiative failed once it became clear that the channel is broadcasted via internet and satellite, thereby making the project ineffective.


In fact, it is impossible to shut down the internet and satellite broadcasts.


Contrary to what Israeli officials may imply, it is difficult to define the Palestinian Authority's broadcasts as incitement, and even in Israel people know that the PA has very little influence over the young people in the West Bank. Hamas TV and radio, however, are followed closely.


Fading aspirations

Over the past few weeks, the IDF and Shin Bet have been carrying out operations in the West Bank to confiscate home-made weapons and the materials used for making them. The operations take place every night everywhere, from small towns to large cities such as Nablus. 


The results are yet to be seen on the ground – incitement continues and terrorists continue to use homemade firearms in their attacks.


Perhaps the results of these efforts will be seen in the coming months, and there will be a decrease in the number of attacks carried out. At least, this is the hope of both the Israelis and Palestinian Authority, which is also worried about the possibility of this "lone wolf intifada" turning into a full-fledged popular uprising.


This is the hope, but people in the know are predicting a much gloomier result. We can at least say for sure that this "lone wolf intifada" will be with us for at least several months.


פרסום ראשון: 03.18.16, 18:10
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