Two Palestinian adolescents who carried out stabbing attacks, both looking like modern, secular teenagers. Left: Bashar al-Ja'abari, 15, who carried out a stabbing attack in Hebron on October 20, 2015 (Hamasms, October 20, 2015). Right: Ahmed Abu al-Rab, 17, who carried out a stabbing attack near the Jalameh crossing in northern Samaria on November 2, 2015 (Facebook page of QudsN, November 2, 2015).
1. For the past two months, since the Jewish High Holidays in September, the Palestinians have been waging a terrorist campaign against Israel, which continues in full force. It can be considered to have begun with stones thrown at the car of Alexander Levlowitz near the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem on September 14, 2015, leading to his death. The campaign gathered steam with riots on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and spread to Israel, Judea and Samaria, and currently focuses on the city of Hebron and its surroundings.
2. During the weeks since (as of November 24, 2015), 23 people have been killed in the campaign: 21 Israelis, and an Ethiopian national and a Palestinian who happened to enter the arena of the attacks. In addition, 185 Israelis have been injured, six of them critically (according to Magen David Adom and quoted by the Israeli foreign ministry, updated to November 22, 2015). Ninety-three Palestinians, most of them from Judea and Samaria, have been killed (according to the Palestinian ministry of health in Ramallah, updated to November 22, 2015). In ITIC assessment, several hundred Palestinians have been wounded.
3. This study continues the initial ITIC profile of Palestinian terrorists who carried out attacks in Jerusalem and inside Israel (updated to October 25, 2015). Its objective is to deepen our understanding of the profile of the attackers in the current terrorist campaign. Another objective is to examine whether and in which areas there are differences between the terrorists who carry out attacks inside Israel and those who carry out attacks in Judea and Samaria. In addition, another study will be issued examining the profile of Palestinians killed during riots and clashes with the Israeli security forces in Judea and Samaria.
4. Generally speaking, the Palestinian terrorist who attacks the Israeli security forces and Israeli civilians in Judea and Samaria is usually male,unmarried and between the ages of 22 and 26 (although in some instances between the ages of 16 and 20). In some instances he finished high school and was unemployed or found work unsuited to his skills. He does not have a previous record of involvement in terrorist attacks and does to belong to one of the terrorist organizations. He carries out the attack alone after having made the decision, sometimes spontaneously (only in certain instances, usually combined attacks such as shooting attacks, were two or more terrorists involved). The decision is made without instructions "from above," and sometimes without the knowledge of the family.
5. Usually, national and religious motivations influence the attacker. However, personal considerations also make a great impact on his decision to risk his life (about 60% of the terrorists who carried out attacks in Judea and Samaria were killed). His decision is influenced by frustration, the desire for fame and the glory achieved by becoming a shaheed, the desire to avenge the deaths of friends or relatives, and exposure to the intense incitement in the media and on the Palestinian street. The continuing terrorist campaign and the deaths of dozens of young Palestinians feed on themselves and are infectious, transmitted from one young Palestinian to another by the social networks (especially Facebook), and also contribute to the motivation of the attackers.
The Facebook page of "Haters of Israel" incites stabbing attacks. Iyad al-Awauda, a Palestinian terrorist from the Hebron region, who carried out a stabbing attack in Kiryat Arba, posted to the page. On October 24, 2015, the national Palestinian television station "liked" the "Haters of Israel" Facebook page (Pictures from the Facebook page of "Haters of Israel," October 17, 2015).
6. About 60% of the Palestinians who carried out terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria lived in Hebron or the adjacent villages. About half of the terrorist attacks were carried out in Hebron and its surroundings and about 12% in nearby Gush Etzion. The majority of the attacks (about 80%) were stabbing attacks employing knives or other sharp instruments.
7. Therefore, stabbing has been the most common modus operandi in the current terrorist campaign. In addition, about 12% were vehicular attacks and 8% were shooting attacks. Most of the attacks targeted the Israeli security forces, the rest targeted civilians. The sites most favored for terrorist attacks have been junctions (for example, the Gush Etzion Junction is a trouble spot), roadblocks and IDF checkpoints, bus stops, gatherings of civilians and military personnel and border crossings (for example, the Jalameh crossing in northern Samaria).
Incitement to Stabbing Attacks
Left: A Palestinian gives a sermon in Rafah calling for the stabbing of Jews. Right: Encouragement for stabbing attacks. The Arabic reads, "Ignite it… the revolution" (Facebook page of "Haters of Israel," October 17, 2015).
8. Statistically, only four shooting attacks were carried out in Judea and Samaria, 8% of the attacks examined in this study. However, shooting attacks are particularly deadly and during the period under consideration claimed the lives of four victims, one fourth of the number of Israeli dead. The number rose, however, with the shooting attack in Gush Etzion on November 19, 2015, which is not included in the current study, in which three people were killed (two Israelis and a Palestinian). That raised the number of people killed in shooting attacks to close to one third of all those carried out in Judea and Samaria. Shooting attacks are not included in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah's "popular resistance" policy, but nevertheless the PA does not publicly condemn them and in reality condones and supports them. The degree of shooting attacks' deadliness and the support they receive from the Palestinian public may well encourage more such attacks out as the terrorist campaign continues.
9. What is the role of the established Palestinian organizations in the current terrorist campaign? In many instances Hamas, Fatah's military-terrorist wing and other organizations try to claim the attackers as members after the fact. They issue death notices for them and attend their funerals. However, it is clear that so far only in a few instances were the terrorists actually affiliated with a terrorist organization and even then, it is doubtful whether the organization supported them with direction, a weapon or funding. That may change if and when the lone wolf attacks lose their momentum and the terrorist organizations try to "preserve the intifada" and escalate the attacks (they have the potential to carry out military-type attacks, from shooting attacks to suicide bombing attacks).
10. Is the current Palestinian terrorist campaign related to ISIS? So far the ITIC has not found a connection between the Palestinian terrorist campaign and ISIS or ISIS-affiliated operatives. None of the Palestinians who carried out the attacks has been found to subscribe to the Salafist ideology. However, Palestinian youth are exposed to ISIS's ideology, brand and media presence. They see the enormous prestige of its operatives, especially when they use knives to behead enemies, which may have contributed to turning knives into the Palestinians' weapons of choice.
Similarities and Differences between Judea and Samaria and Israel
11. The comparison between the profile of Palestinians terrorists who carry out attacks in Judea and Samaria and those who carry them out in Israel revealed many similarities, especially regarding motivation and modus operandi. However, there were also differences:
1) The terrorists' Hebron origin: About 60% of the attacks carried out in Judea and Samaria were carried out by terrorists from Hebron and the neighboring villages. Inside Israel, on the other hand, 75% of the terrorists came from east and north Jerusalem neighborhoods. However, terrorists from Hebron also carried out attacks inside Israel (about 15%) and terrorists from east Jerusalem carried out attacks in Judea and Samaria (about 10%). Therefore, in most instances terrorists from the area around Hebron and east Jerusalem carried out attacks in proximity to where they lived, but in several instances terrorists from Hebron and east Jerusalem also carried out attacks in Israeli cities.
2) The deadliness of shooting attacks in Judea and Samaria: Four of 49 terrorist attacks (about 8%) examined in this study were shooting attacks carried out in Judea and Samaria. In addition there was a shooting attack in Gush Etzion after this study was composed in which three people were killed. Nevertheless, while statistically the shooting attacks form a minority of the overall number of attacks, they are the most deadly and have caused almost one third of the total deaths in the current terrorist campaign. However, the number of attacks carried out in Judea and Samaria is larger than the number carried out in Israel. That is probably the result of operational considerations, that is, the availability of weapons, the ease with which Palestinians can drive cars from which to shoot and speed away from the scene of the attack, and the ease with which they can blend into a sympathetic, supportive population.
Hamas Encouragement for Shooting Attacks
Left: Notice posted after the shooting attack near Itamar, where the Henkins were killed on October 1, 2015. It calls for Palestinians to ignite the West Bank with shooting attacks. The Arabic reads, "The attack of Nablus" and "the West Bank" (Facebook page of PALDF, October 2, 2015). Right: A notice posted by Hamas' Islamic Bloc in Hebron University praising the Palestinians who carried out the shooting attack in South Mt. Hebron and killed Rabbi Litman and his son Netanel. The Arabic reads, "Hebron resists, may your hand be blessed, man of the resistance. The death of two settlers and the wounding of other in the shooting attack on their car near the city of Hebron" (Facebook page of Hamas' Islamic Bloc at Hebron University, November 13, 2015).
3) The older age of terrorists who carry out attacks: Most of the Palestinians involved in the current terrorist campaign, both in Judea and Samaria and in Israel, are young. However, most of those who carry out the attacks inside Israel are between the ages of 16 and 20, while most of those who carry them out in Judea and Samaria are between the ages of 22 and 26, and carry out about half (about one fourth inside Israel). They have finished high school and most of them have either found jobs where they cannot use their skills or are unemployed, and only a few continued on to university. Therefore, in addition to their nationalistic-religious motivation, in ITIC assessment many of them are personally frustrated and want glory or revenge through personal sacrifice, considered as heroic (after they have become shaheeds they are in fact admired, and some of them turn into role models).
12. The examination of the number of university students and graduates among Palestinians who carry out terrorist attacks did not reveal significant differences between those who carried them out in Israel (15%) and Judea and Samaria (12%). However, the result of the ITIC examination indicates that so far students have not enlisted en masse to carry out terrorist attacks either in Israel or Judea and Samaria, despite the intense incitement in the universities. Apparently for now they prefer to exert their energy by tapping on their computer keyboards or at riots, and not through terrorist attacks carrying personal risk. That may change if and when Fatah, Hamas and the other terrorist organizations enter the picture, expand the cycle of violence and terrorism and encourage the students affiliated with them to participate in the attacks (as happened during the second intifada, when some of the universities turned into breeding grounds for suicide bombing terrorists).
13. This study examines the profiles of 59 Palestinian terrorists who carried out or attempted 49 stabbing, vehicular or shooting attacks in Judea and Samaria during the current terrorist campaign. Most of them were killed during the attacks and relatively good relevant information about them is available. Some of them were wounded and/or apprehended by the Israeli security forces, or managed to escape from the scene of the attack, and/or turned themselves in to the Palestinian security forces. Information about them is partial and sometimes non-existent. Of the 59 Palestinian terrorists examined for this study, information of varying but reasonable quality was found for 47, and no or almost no information was found for 12.
14. The 59 Palestinian terrorists studied in this study participated in 49 terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria. For lack of relevant information, some categories were not examined: attacks that were not carried out; events involving IEDs; shots fired at Israeli security forces during security activities. However, despite the objective limitations, in ITIC assessment the study reflects the profile of the young Palestinians who on their own initiative carried out attacks against Israeli targets (Israeli security forces or civilians) in Judea and Samaria.
15. Dating: This study examines the first two months of the current Palestinian terrorist campaign. It begins with the attack of September 14, 2015. It ends with November 15, 2015, which was the date chosen arbitrarily, because the terrorist campaign continues. This is, therefore, an interim study which should be updated and expanded in the future.
16. Sources: This study is based on the systematic monitoring of terrorist events as reported in the ITIC's weekly bulletins. It relies mainly primary Palestinian and Israeli sources. It makes extensive use of information from the Palestinian media, especially Internet sites and social networks. The study used information based on personal Facebook pages, sites set up to commemorate shaheeds, statements from relatives, Palestinian village websites, etc. Israeli sources included reports from the Israel Police Force, indictments handed down against terrorist operatives who were caught, the Israel Security Agency website and information from the Israeli media.
17. Structure: There are three appendices: the first elaborates the findings of the analysis of the profile of the Palestinians who carried out attacks in Judea and Samaria, the second examines each of the individuals who carried out the attacks, and the third summarizes the information about the individual terrorists and the attacks in a table.
[*]For further information see the November 2, 2015 bulletin, "Initial Findings of the Profile of Palestinian Terrorists Who Carried Out Attacks in Israel in the Current Wave of Terrorism (Updated to October 25, 2015)"
According to the Palestinian ministry of health in Ramallah, 3,700 Palestinians were wounded during the current campaign of terrorism and violence. The number seems exaggerated and intended by the Palestinians to be used for anti-Israeli propaganda. In ITIC assessment most of the wounded inhaled tear gas or incurred very minor injuries during riots and quickly recovered.
 More shooting attacks were carried out by unknown persons and are not included in this study.
 If to that figure the six people killed inside Israel are added, it brings the number of people killed in shooting attacks to 13 out of 23, that is, more than half.
On November 16, 2015, the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO), headed by Dr. Nabil Kukali, posted a new public opinion poll of 1,000 responders, one of the findings was that 45.8% said Palestinians living in the West Bank and east Jerusalem should begin a third intifada, more violent than the previous ones, and start carrying arms.
While shooting attacks are not included in the modus operandi of the "popular resistance," the PA does not condemn them and in reality creates the atmosphere supporting them. The shooting attacks are part of the "military attacks" accompanying "popular terrorism" (the "popular resistance"). They have caused most of the Israeli deaths during the six years of the "popular resistance" policy. According to the ITIC in-depth study of the "popular resistance," 31 of the 48 Israelis killed died in "military attacks" (65%). Nevertheless, the PA still doggedly calls the "popular resistance" and its accompanying military-type attacks "peaceful, non-violent resistance." For further information see the October 15, 2015 bulletin, "The Fatal Results of Palestinian Popular Terrorism: Analysis of Israeli deaths during the six years of the 'popular resistance' strategy, what the Palestinian Authority calls 'peaceful resistance'."