Left: Palestinians throw Molotov cocktails at Israeli security forces on the Temple Mount (YouTube, March 8, 2013). Right: Israeli civilian vehicle destroyed by fire caused by Molotov
cocktail (Tazpit News Agency, November 8, 2013) .
1. In 2013 there was a significant increase in the scope of violence and terrorism in Judea, Samaria and the Jerusalem area. According to data from the Israel Security Agency (ISA), in 2013 there were 1,271 terrorist attacks, as compared with 578 in 2012 (a year in which violence and terrorism also increased).
2. The two main trends of violence and terrorism were the following:
1) The so-called "popular resistance" (which can be considered popular terrorism): The popular resistance is a leading strategy used by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah. In 2013 it accounted for 858 attacks (as compared with 535 in 2012). The popular resistance includes the use of Molotov cocktails (a frequent modus operandi), and stabbing and vehicular attacks. In addition, every month there were hundreds of stone-throwing events targeting the Israeli security forces and/or Israeli civilians driving along the roads in Judea, Samaria and the Jerusalem area (including Israeli civilian buses).
2) "Military attacks" (guns, explosives, abductions): In 2013 there were 201 military attacks involving the use of arms (as compared with 37 in 2012). Most of them (170 attacks) involved IEDs, and some of them involved shooting and throwing hand grenades. In addition, one Israeli soldier was abducted in Bat Yam, south of Tel Aviv, and murdered in Samaria by an illegal Palestinian resident from the region of Qalqiliya. In some instances, the distinction between the popular resistance and military attacks is blurred. On occasion popular resistance operatives have tried to "upgrade" the attacks to the use of arms. On the other hand, sometimes operatives who carry out military attacks [i.e., the terrorist organizations] integrated cold weapons into their attacks.
3. The terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria and within Israeli territorywere responsible for the deaths of five Israelis in 2013, two civilians and three IDF soldiers (no Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks in 2012). Three of the deaths were caused by stabbing attacks, the most lethal modus operandi of the popular resistance. Most of the attacks in which Israelis were killed were not carried out by established terrorist organizations but rather by lone terrorists or local networks.
4. Additional characteristics of the terrorist attacks and Israeli counterterrorism activities carried out in 2013:
1) Increased prevention: In 2013 the Israeli security forces prevented approximately 190 major terrorist attacks, most of them planned for Judea and Samaria (112 in 2012). Most of the attacks prevented (67) involved IEDs. Also prevented were abductions (52), shooting attacks (52) and suicide bombing attacks (16). The statistics above illustrate the effectiveness of the Israeli security forces' counterterrorism activities.
2) Involvement of Hamas and Palestinian prisoners released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal in directing terrorism: In 2013 Hamas made a conspicuous effort to promote terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria. It employed local networks and often involved headquarters and operatives beyond the Judea and Samaria borders. The involvement of Palestinian prisoners released in the Gilad Shalit deal to the Gaza Strip was particularly prominent in directing terrorist actions in Judea and Samaria, in blatant violation of the release agreement.
3) Exposure of Salafist-jihadi networks: In 2013 several Salafist-jihadi networks in Judea and Samaria were exposed, some local and some directed from beyond the borders of Judea and Samaria. Particularly conspicuous was the exposure of a network, two of whose operatives were residents of east Jerusalem. The network was handled from the Gaza Strip and its operatives planned a double suicide bombing attack at the International Conference Center in Jerusalem and the American embassy in Tel Aviv, as well as other attacks.
4) Terrorist organizations' efforts to carry out abductions: In 2013, especially in view of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal, the Palestinian terrorist organizations increased their efforts to abduct Israelis in Judea, Samaria and Israel, who would be used as hostages to bargain for the release of Palestinian terrorist operatives imprisoned in Israeli jails. Their efforts were foiled in a series of Israeli security force preventive actions in Judea and Samaria. The operatives who were apprehended admitted their plans to abduct Israelis. In many instances the abductions were orchestrated either by terrorist operatives imprisoned in Israel or by prisoners released in the Gilad Shalit deal (ISA, September 2013).
5) PA and Fatah support for popular resistance violence and terrorism: The PA gives the popular resistance political, media and sometimes financial support, falsely represents it as "non-violent" (muqawama silmiyya) and exploits it in the anti-Israel campaign it is waging alongside the peace negotiations. In early 2013 senior PA and Fatah figures reiterated their intention to intensify popular resistance events. Their assumption, which was borne out, was that they could gain the greatest possible benefit from the events while controlling them and preventing their exploitation by Hamas and other organizations.
6) At the same time, the PA and Fatah objected to armed military attacks under the current circumstances. Therefore, the PA's security forces conducted ongoing preventive activities and continued security cooperation with Israel to enforce PA policy. However, PA incitement to violence against Israel continued unabated and senior Fatah figures often made it clear that the option of a "armed military resistance" had not been abandoned, even if current circumstances made the popular resistance preferable.
7. In our assessment, if the American-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian negotiations reach a dead end in 2014, popular resistance violence and terrorism may increase (throwing stones and Molotov cocktails, carrying out stabbing and vehicular attacks). That is in view of the PA and Fatah's encouragement of the strategy, and in spite of the PA's desire to control the situation on the ground. At the same time, the PA can be expected to intensify the political campaign they are waging against Israel in international institutions and in international public opinion, while encouraging the Palestinian NGOs (which do not belong to Fatah or the PA) orchestrating the BDS campaign. All of the above are liable to encourage Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and other terrorist organizations to try to increase the scope of the armed military resistance even if by doing so they would challenge the PA and Fatah's current strategy.
The Structure of This Study
8. The study has seven sections examining a different practical or political aspect of Palestinian violence and terrorism in Judea and Samaria in 2013:
1) The extent of violence and terrorism in 2013
2) Israeli victims in Judea, Samaria and Israel
3) Friction points
II) Armed military attacks in Judea and Samaria in 2013
1) Shooting attacks
2) Detonating IEDs and throwing hand grenades
III) Attacks in Israel originating in Judea and Samaria
2) Abduction and murder of an IDF soldier from Bat Yam
3) Stabbing attack in Afula
4) Bomb on a bus in Bat Yam
IV) Popular resistance violence and terrorism
2) Stabbing attacks
3) Vehicular attacks
4) Throwing Molotov cocktails
5) Throwing stones
V) Propaganda events
2) Erecting illegal outposts
3) Blocking roads
4) Sabotaging the security fence
VI) Preventing terrorist attacks and exposing networks
2) Detaining a PIJ squad planning an abduction
3) Exposing Hamas networks in the Hebron area that planned terrorist attacks
4) Exposing a squad in east Jerusalem planning an abduction and shooting attack
5) Exposing a Hamas squad planning an abduction and other terrorist attacks
6) Detaining a Hamas operative planning an abduction and shooting attack
7) Preventing of a mass-casualty attack in Jerusalem
8) Exposing of Salafist-jihadi networks and preventing terrorist attacks
VII) The popular resistance versus armed military attacks – PA and Fatah policy
2) Statements from senior PA figures
3) Statements from senior Fatah figures
4) Glorifying the popular resistance and inciting violence and terrorism on Fatah's social networks
The Scope of Violence and Terrorism in 2013
1. In 2013 there was a significant increase in the scope of all forms of violence and terrorism in Judea, Samaria and the Jerusalem area. According to data from the Israel Security Agency (ISA), in 2013 there were 1,271 attacks, as compared with 578 in 2012 (a year in which violence and terrorism also increased). Most of the attacks were considered "popular terrorism" (the so-called popular resistance). There was a significant increase in the use of arms (guns, IEDs, hand grenades). In addition to the ISA data, hundreds of stone-throwing events should be added, considered a part of the Palestinian popular resistance.
2. The increase in the number of all types of terrorist attacks in 2013:
a. Attacks involving arms (guns, IEDs and hand grenades): There were 201 terrorist attacks in 2013 involving the use of arms (compared with 37 in 2012), 45 of them in the Jerusalem area. Most of them (107) involved IEDs. Particularly serious were the sniper fire that murdered an IDF soldier in Hebron and the bomb placed on a bus in the city of Bat Yam (south of Tel Aviv).
b. Abduction and murder: One abduction and subsequent murder was committed in 2013. The culprit was a Palestinian from Qalqiliya staying in Israeli illegally. The abduction began in Ban Yam and ended in Samaria with the murder and burial of the soldier. The large number of plans and attempts to abduct Israelis that were exposed indicates the Palestinians' high level of motivation to acquire Israeli hostages to be used to negotiate for the release of prisoners.
c. The so-called popular resistance (i.e., popular terrorism): The popular resistance is a leading strategy used by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah. In 2013 there was a significant increase in popular resistance events, mainly the throwing of Molotov cocktails. In addition, there were a large number of stone-throwing attacks. Also particularly prominent were stabbing and vehicular attacks. Some of them, especially the stabbing attacks, were fatal.
Note: The graph does not include the throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails, which account for most of the attacks.
Israeli Victims in Judea, Samaria and Israel
3. In 2013 there was a sharp increase in the number of Israelis killed in terrorist attacks originating in Judea and Samaria. Five Israelis were killed, three of them IDF soldiers (there were no deaths from terrorist attacks in 2012). Three Israelis were stabbed to death (the first on April 30, at the Tapuah junction in Samaria, the second on October 10 at Brosh Habiqa' in the northern Jordan Valley, and the third on November 13 in the northern city of Afula). In addition, an IDF soldier was shot and killed by a sniper (on September 22 in Hebron) and another soldier was abducted and murdered (on September 20).
4. The attacks in which Israelis were killed were not carried out by established terrorist organizations, but rather by local networks or lone terrorists. Two attacks involved Palestinians staying in Israeli illegally. The abduction on September 20 was orchestrated and directed by Palestinian terrorist operatives imprisoned in Israel. The stabbing in Afula was carried out by a lone terrorist operative who was staying in Israeli illegally.
5. In 2013, 44 Israelis were wounded, a slight increase over the previous year (40 wounded). Most of them (42) were wounded during popular resistance events: 34 (about 77%) by stones or Molotov cocktails, six (about 14%) were stabbed, and two were injured in vehicular attacks. In addition, one Israeli was shot and injured and another was wounded when an IED exploded.
6. Most of the increase in the number of all types of attacks occurred in Judea, where 1,042 were carried out, 260 of them in the Jerusalem area. In Samaria 229 were carried out for a total of 1,271. The number of attacks in the city of Jerusalem declined in 2013, where there were 126 attacks (187 in 2012). Most of them (212) involved Molotov cocktails thrown during popular resistance events.
7. Most of the attacks were carried out during confrontations between popular resistance operatives and the Israeli security forces during the riots at the traditional friction zones in Judea and Samaria. For a number of years the friction zones have been the scene of either permanent violent activities or occasional violence on memorial days or various protest demonstrations. The most prominent friction zones are the following:
a. The Palestinian villages, especially those near the security fence, where protest riots are held mainly on the claim that the security fence runs through Palestinian land. However, over the years the local protests have been expanded to seek far-reaching political goals. The two most prominent villages are Bil'in and Ni'lin, which the Palestinians have turned into popular resistance symbols. Other villages include Um Safa and Nebi Saleh (north of Ramallah), Al-Massarah and Um Salmuna (south of Bethlehem), whose residents are involved in land disputes with Jewish settlers. Weekly riots are held at the above locations, usually on Friday.
b. Roadblocks, crossings, Israeli facilities, guard posts, Jewish sites and regions near the Jewish villages where there is constant friction between Palestinians and the IDF/Jewish settlers. The friction zones include the Qalqiliya crossing, south of Ramallah; the Cave of the Patriarchs crossing in Hebron; the Tomb of Rachel (often a target for bombs and Molotov cocktails in 2013); the Tomb of Rachel crossing in Bethlehem, near the Al-Aida refugee camp; the Gilboa (Jalame) and Salem crossings near Jenin in Samaria; and the Bitunia crossing near the Ofer prison, southwest of Ramallah (on the outskirts of the village of Bitunia), which became a symbol of the so-called prisoners' protest.
c. The Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, where there is friction with the local Jewish population also living there. Prominent are the neighborhoods of A-Tor and the Mount of Olives (east of the Old City); Issawiya (northeast of the Old City); and the neighborhoods of Ras al-Amud and Silwan (southeast of the Old City). There is also the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood (southwest of the Temple Mount and French Hill).
d. The Temple Mount, which this year as well was one of the main friction zones between Palestinians and the Israeli security forces. The Temple Mount is a traditional focus for national-religious confrontations. It is inflamed by Hamas' systematic incitement (which the PA supports). According to Hamas propaganda, Israel is "plotting" to Judaize Jerusalem and destroy Al-Aqsa mosque. The Temple Mount is highly sensitive and explosive, and events there resonate beyond the Israeli-Palestinian arena to the entire Arab-Muslim world. The Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement of Israeli Arabs (directed by Sheikh Ra'ed Salah) also fans the fires of provocation. The PA permits (and sometimes encourages) outbreaks of violence and rioting on the Temple Mount, but works to contain them and prevent them from spreading to other friction zones in Judea and Samaria.
The statistics in this study are based on the summary of terrorism in 2013 issued by the ISA (ISA website). Analyzing and interpreting the statistics was carried out by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.
Friday, especially after the noon prayers in the mosques, is the time usually chosen for popular resistance events at the various friction zones, as are Palestinian memorial days (such as Land Day, Palestinian Prisoner Day, Nakba Day and Naksa Day, etc.).