Analysis: What's behind the renewed war in Israel's heartland

There is a pattern to the spate of terror attacks as both Fatah and Hamas agree that "the era of Resistance has begun."

Yochanan Visser ,

זירת הפיגוע בכרמי צור
זירת הפיגוע בכרמי צור
צילום: דוברות כרמי צור

Yochanan Visser is an independent journalist/analyst who worked for many years as Middle East correspondent for Western in Arizona and was a frequent publicist for the main Dutch paper De Volkskrant. He authored a book in the Dutch language about the cognitive war against Israel and now lives in Gush Etzion. He writes a twice weekly analysis of current issues for Arutz Sheva

Early Wednesday morning, a Palestinian terrorist tried to enter the tiny Jewish village of Carmei Tzur along road 60 between Gush Etzion Junction and Hevron in Israel.

The Palestinian Arab from Halhoul, a Hamas hotbed a few kilometers down the road to Hevron/ Kyriat Arba, approached the entrance of Carmei Tzur with his car. He then got out and stabbed a 34-year-old security guard who luckily escaped with only moderate injuries to his arm.

The terrorist was subsequently shot dead by a second security guard after which the IDF started to search the area for possible accomplices in the terror attack, later entering the nearby city of Halhoul in order to interrogate relatives of the slain terrorist.

The incident marked the third attempt in one month by Palestinian terrorists to infiltrate Carmei Tzur in order to kill Jews living there. It comes on the heels of a deadly infiltration attempt at the entrance of Ariel in Samaria earlier this week.

On Monday, Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal, a 30-year-old father of four, who lived in the Jewish village of Har Bracha in Samaria was stabbed to death by an Israeli Arab from Yafo, the son of an Israeli Arab mother and a Palestinian Arab father from Nablus (Shechem).

Rabbi Ben-Gal worked as an educator but was also serving as a member of Ariel’s security team.

Earlier, Rabbi Raziel Shevach, from the now-authorized outpost Havat Gilad in Samaria, was murdered in a drive-by shooting during which Palestinian terrorists from the Jenin area fired 22 bullets at Rabbi Shevach's moving car.

He was survived by his wife Yael and six children.

The Israeli internal security agency Shabak has recorded a sharp increase in terror attacks by Palestinian Arab terrorists since U.S. president Donald Trump announced his decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem on Dec. 6th, 2017.

In December alone 249 terror attacks were recorded by the Shabak, up from 84 in November 2017. Data about January are not yet available but no day passes by without new attacks in Judea and Samaria and especially attempts to infiltrate the Jewish villages and towns located there.

In December, no terror attacks were recorded inside the so-called Green Line - the 1948 armistice line - the Shabak wrote in its monthly report.

Is this coincidence? After all, Israeli police continue discovering plots to stage terror attacks within the Green Line.

On Monday, police released photo evidence of a large amount of weapons seized during a counter-terrorism raid in northern Israel and later arrested an Israeli Arab from the PA town of Taibe who was recruiting Arabs for Islamic State attacks against Israel.

If one takes a good look at what Hamas and Fatah said after Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, and what they said in January after PA-leader Mahmoud Abbas dropped his mask as a supposed moderate, and delivered his most inciting anti-Semitic speech as PA-leader to date, a pattern becomes visible.

After Trump delivered his historic Jerusalem speech, Hamas immediately called for a third Intifada which pundits claim did not materialize, but the Shabak record tells a slightly different story.

Then there is the Jan.19 statement from Fatah, the supposedly moderate Palestinian faction of Mahmoud Abbas and Saeb Erekat, the chief negotiator of the PA.

The statement called upon the Palestinian Arabs to "escalate the popular and comprehensive resistance" against Israel and to “turn the lives of Jewish settlers into hell.”

The statement was issued directly after Arab terrorists murdered Rabbi Shevach, and formed the beginning of a spate of attacks on Jews living in Judea and Samaria and a significant increase in attempts to infiltrate the so-called ‘settlements’.

According to Palestinian scholar Bassam Tawil, there is now competition between Hamas and Fatah to show who hates Israel and the U.S. more, but they agree on one thing: the era of Resistance has begun.

The two main Palestinian terror organizations are now actively encouraging Arabs to carry out more terror attacks against Jews and glorify those who were ‘killed in action’.

For example, Fatah hailed the “martyr” Ahmed Nasr Jarrar, leader of the terror cell which murdered Rabbi Shevach, and who was killed in a shootout with the IDF.

A poster of the ‘martyr’ and his father said the terrorist was a “young lion,” while Fattah praised the murderer for “facing” Israeli soldiers and not trying to flee during the IDF raid in Jenin in which he was eliminated.

The question now is what must be done to improve security for Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria.

Yehuda Wald, spokesman for the Carmei Tzur community, says that it’s high time the IDF restores deterrence vis a vis terrorists who kill Jews by expelling their families to Gaza, which, according to Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett, is the real Palestinian state.

Wald also said Israel should declare sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria and build more houses to strengthen Jewish presence in Israel’s biblical heartland.

The spokesman for the Jewish community in Judea urged the government to speed up the construction of a by-pass road in the area of Halhoul, Beit Umar and al-Arub since the Israeli security forces fail to provide adequate protection for Israeli’s traveling Road 60.

The Palestinian Arabs, meanwhile, show no signs of being deterred..

On the contrary, PA Chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, who also heads the PLO today, warned last week Palestinians could join ISIS and other Islamist groups if the Trump Administration doesn’t give in and give the Palestinian Arabs what they want.