Israel is facing a terror threat made up of several fronts: Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Iran act as the main generators of the violence, while the Palestinian Authority (PA) contributes institutional and continuing incitement, and its favourable treatment of terrorists and their families.
Hamas maintains relative peace in Gaza to allow the terror infrastructure rebuilding efforts there to continue, and to re-arm, as well as enabling reconstruction projects. Meanwhile, they do whatever they can to create tension in Jerusalem and the West Bank, where they wish to expand their terror network. They constantly seek ways to connect with radicals among Arab citizens of Israel. Even small numbers of recruits can have deadly consequences.
The PA is weak and unable to control effectively the northern parts of the West Bank, but Hamas also does not have the influence it desires there.
Instead it cooperates fully with PIJ, which is therefore an unofficial Hamas proxy at well as being reliant on Iran for money. Hamas and PIJ are fully cooperating and coordinating and supported by Iran.
Hamas does not give orders to PIJ to commit specific terror attacks, but there is an understanding between them that PIJ must play its role.
Because PIJ can provide the weapons, money and organisation for committing terror attacks, activists from other organisations come to them to enable them to commit terror attacks. Ultimately, the desire to murder Jews unites all these factions.
We have succeeded in preventing many terror attacks which regular citizens simply don’t know about. Israel’s successes are far greater in this arena than its failures, but sadly the failures have tragic results.
Israel’s response must differentiate between the innocent Palestinian population and the terrorists. Acting aggressively to target terrorist networks in Jenin and the northern West Bank area should not prevent ordinary Palestinians getting on with their lives. But terrorists are embedded in the civil population.
Don’t think of what’s happened over the past few weeks as lone wolf attacks. They are inspired and organised by terror groups. The two Hadera terrorists had many weapons and were well prepared. They cannot have acted alone. The Tel Aviv attacker came from the Jenin area; somebody provided him with his weapon and helped him to get to the scene of the attack within central Israel.
The Tel Aviv terrorist’s father is a retired general from the Palestinian National Security, which is loosely equivalent to being in the army. He retired at least five years ago but still gets a pension from the PA. If such a senior official from the security apparatus openly celebrates his terrorist son, we can only imagine what other, less senior security officials might be like.
Incitement is present 24/7 through all the possible channels, starting with the school curriculum where indoctrination begins to promote the murder of Jews and the delegitimisation of the State of Israel. Palestinian media is fully controlled by the Palestinian Authority and TV and radio incite against Jews and Israel, especially during Ramadan. Fattah, the PA and senior officials all make use of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social networks. Incitement, even official incitement, is present on all social media channels.
It is no surprise that when Jews are murdered in Tel Aviv, there are hate-filled celebrations in the West Bank.
Dr Kobi Michael is research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies