- While Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) tried to escalate the number of terrorist attacks in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, most of which were prevented thanks to the activities of the Israeli security forces, the activities of the so-called “popular resistance” [i.e., popular terrorism] continued. For the most part, the violence was carried out by lone wolf terrorists or initiated by local networks. It includes the throwing of rocks and Molotov cocktails, stabbing attacks, vehicular ramming attacks and sometimes shooting attacks or combined attacks. The Palestinian leadership encourages what it calls the “popular resistance,” and on no occasion does it condemn the attacks, rather, it consistently praises those who carry them out, even when Israelis are killed.
- The Palestinian Authority (PA) also fosters a culture of terrorism and a shaheed cult: it provides popular terrorism with political and propaganda support, glorifies the terrorists in the Palestinian formal and informal educational systems, pays generous stipends to terrorists imprisoned in Israeli jails and provides financial support for the families of prisoners and shaheeds, funds the construction of new houses for terrorists when Israel demolishes them, has senior PA and Fatah figures participate in the funerals held for terrorists, pays condolence calls at the homes of the families, gives them plaques and awards, etc.
- Meanwhile, anti-Israeli incitement and propaganda are rife on the Palestinian social networks and have an increasing influence on Palestinian youth, who are constantly exposed to posts and notices encouraging violence and legitimizing terrorist attacks through videos, social media apps such as WhatsApp, TikTok and Instagram and other forms of communication popular with the younger generation. In many instances, they serve as almost only source of information to which young people are exposed. They are probably one of the reasons young Palestinians have carried out terrorist attacks, copying what they have seen on the social media.
Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem
- During 2021 the number of significant terrorist attacks rose, and 54 were carried out, compared with 40 in 2020. Since 2019 there has been a slight rise in the annual number of attacks. Most of them could be included within the parameters of what the PA calls “popular resistance,” that is, no firearms were used. “Popular resistance activities” include the throwing of rocks, Molotov cocktails, stabbing attacks and vehicular ramming attacks. The overwhelming majority were carried out by lone wolf terrorists and not initiated by any recognized terrorist organization. The lethality of popular terrorism has not changed from year to year, and despite the increase in the number of attacks, three Israelis were killed, similar to the 2020.
- Most of the terrorist attacks carried out in 2021 were stabbing attacks, with 30 carried out, or about 56% of the total number of attacks, compared with 19 in 2020, or 48% of the total. There was also an increase in shooting attacks, with 12 carried out, about 22% of the total. Eight vehicular ramming attacks were carried out, about 15% of the total, and there were three combined attacks and one incursion into an Israeli community. In addition, there were 1,700 incidents of rock throwing and 350 Molotov cocktail incidents.
- The relatively small number of terrorist attacks carried out by the established Palestinian terrorist organizations reflect the high quality of the Israeli security forces’ counterterrorism activities and their collaboration with the PA security forces. It is also a reflection of the fact that over the past few years the Palestinian public has been unwilling to participate in significant numbers in terrorist activities and protests targeting Israel. Apparently the population of Judea and Samaria has become more focused on dealing with daily life, especially since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, and its enlistment in organized terrorist activities and protests has been limited. However, in addition to “popular resistance” attacks, Israeli security has noted a rise in nationalist terrorist attacks carried out by Jewish settlers against Palestinians.
Call to extend armed terrorism in 2021 in Judea and Samaria. The Arabic reads, “202 Gaza” and “202 Gaza, Judea and Samaria” (Alaa’ al-Laqta’s Facebook page, December 27, 2021).
Significant terrorist attacks since 2013
*134 significant terrorist attacks were carried out between October and December 2015, the first three months of the wave of popular terrorism. The remaining 34 attacks were carried out during the year before October.
Distribution of the types of terrorist attacks carried out in 2021
 For further information, the January 17, 2018 bulletin, "The PLO's Central Council and Mahmoud Abbas call for the continuation and strengthening of [so-called] "peaceful popular resistance" [i.e., popular terrorism]." ↑
 The data for the number of rocks and Molotov cocktails thrown is partial and based on reports from the Israeli security forces on the ground. ↑
 The 2021 summary of IDF activity noted satisfaction with the activities of the PA security forces, and coordination with them was described as "good." Especially towards the end of the year the IDF saw a significant change in the activities taken by the PA security forces against terrorists (IDF spokesman, December 28, 2021).