The head of the Military Intelligence research department says he believes the escalating situation in the West Bank will only get worse in the coming year and is not a “wave of terror” as many officials have described it.
Speaking at a conference hosted by Gazit, a military think tank, Brig. Gen. Amit Saar says the rising violence in the West Bank will be Israel’s second most challenging issue in 2023, after Iran.
“People can say nothing has changed… the terror is seasonal, every few years we have a wave and afterward it calms down and comes back. There are people in the security establishment who believe this to be the case, but I think otherwise,” Saar says.
“I think we need to examine what we have seen in recent months — not through the number of attacks, but the causes,” he says.
“We are seeing the beginning of the weakening of the foundations that allowed us to manage the conflict. We are far from being able to solve the conflict, but there were foundations allowing us to manage the conflict,” Saar says.
Saar says the Palestinian Authority has lost its legitimacy with young Palestinians, and there is easy access to firearms in the West Bank, enabling repeated shooting attacks.
“They lash out at everything, the PA, Hamas, the organized groups. They are angry and exposed to weapons and incitement. They want to make their own story, and put it on TikTok,” he says, referring to the Lion’s Den terror group and other local groups of armed Palestinians in the West Bank.
“It’s much more complicated to deal with,” Saar adds.