The most jarring events were the two terrorist shooting attacks at the Gush Etzion and Eli junctions, which left three Israelis dead and four wounded. The attacks, carried out as Abu Mazen was on his way to the United States, showed that as expected, the Palestinian terrorist organizations were doing their utmost to move the focus of the terrorism from the Gaza Strip (where relative quiet has prevailed) to the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority, which was quick to condemn the attacks, continues to demonstrate its helplessness in dealing with the terrorist organizations, which repeatedly violate the lull.
During recent weeks the Israel Security Agency (ISA) exposed a Hamas terrorist infrastructure in the Hebron-Ramallah district. Also exposed were the squads behind the suicide bombing attacks in Beersheba and the abduction and murder of Sasson Nuriel. Interrogations of detained Hamas operatives proved that the organization continues its activities during the lull, in contravention of the pronouncements of its senior members.
In the internal Palestinian arena, signs of anarchy continue and grow. Violent power struggles are being held in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, spurred on by the approaching Palestinian Legislative Council elections. Although Abu Mazen has repeatedly called for an end to the carrying of arms in the streets, the PA’s inability to enforce its policies on the terrorist organizations, which have their own agenda, particularly Hamas, is conspicuous.