PA security forces said to foil ‘over a hundred’ attacks

Palestinian officials warn that measures proposed by IDF are insufficient to stop violence without diplomatic progress

Avi Issacharoff

Avi Issacharoff, The Times of Israel's Middle East analyst, fills the same role for Walla, the leading portal in Israel. He is also a guest commentator on many different radio shows and current affairs programs on television. Until 2012, he was a reporter and commentator on Arab affairs for the Haaretz newspaper. He also lectures on modern Palestinian history at Tel Aviv University, and is currently writing a script for an action-drama series for the Israeli satellite Television "YES." Born in Jerusalem, he graduated cum laude from Ben Gurion University with a B.A. in Middle Eastern studies and then earned his M.A. from Tel Aviv University on the same subject, also cum laude. A fluent Arabic speaker, Avi was the Middle East Affairs correspondent for Israeli Public Radio covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war in Iraq and the Arab countries between the years 2003-2006. Avi directed and edited short documentary films on Israeli television programs dealing with the Middle East. In 2002 he won the "best reporter" award for the "Israel Radio” for his coverage of the second intifada. In 2004, together with Amos Harel, he wrote "The Seventh War - How we won and why we lost the war with the Palestinians." A year later the book won an award from the Institute for Strategic Studies for containing the best research on security affairs in Israel. In 2008, Issacharoff and Harel published their second book, entitled "34 Days - The Story of the Second Lebanon War," which won the same prize.

Illustrative: Palestinian police in the West Bank (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
Illustrative: Palestinian police in the West Bank (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

The Palestinian Authority has thwarted dozens of planned stabbing attacks on Israelis by young Palestinian men and women over the last few months, sources from both sides told The Times of Israel on Thursday.

The Palestinian sources claimed more than 100 attacks have been foiled by the PA security apparatus since October 1. If true, the claim means that the number of attacks on Israelis, of which there have been fewer than 100 to date, would have been more than doubled.

The attacks foiled were at different stages of preparation; in many cases, youths or teenagers were caught after posting on social media that they were preparing to carry out attacks against Jews and were willing to die in the process, the sources said. The Palestinian security agencies tracked the would-be attackers through the internet and then either arrested them or detained them, while asking their families to be on the alert for any attack attempts.

Palestinian security forces or Israeli intelligence have a limited or sometimes nonexistent window in which to intercept such attacks, as the youths usually set out just moments after writing a message of this nature. In one incident in Hebron, a Palestinian teen finished writing a farewell message to his friends on his Facebook page and immediately left the internet café from which he was posting, walked several hundred meters to a checkpoint near the Cave of the Patriarchs and tried to stab IDF soldiers there.

Palestinian agencies are also continuing their routine activities, including the confiscation of illegally held weapons and their transfer to Israel, as well as arresting Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists, the Israeli and Palestinian sources said. The Hamas website said Thursday that Palestinian intelligence and preventative security forces had arrested four Palestinians due to their “political affiliation” – a euphemism for membership in these groups.

On Wednesday, a senior IDF officer said the army had recommended that the government supply PA security forces with more weapons and even armored vehicles to bolster them in their fight against terrorism.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clarified shortly afterwards that he was not planning to act on the recommendation.

Senior Palestinian Authority officials told The Times of Israel that the PA security forces’ ability to act was diminishing, and warned that unless there were some progress on the diplomatic front, the time would come when the PA would be unable to intercept attacks. The officials said that the list of steps proposed by the IDF was insufficient, and that a significant diplomatic push was necessary to stop the escalation in violence.

Netanyahu has repeatedly blamed the PA, including its President Mahmoud Abbas, for inciting the current upsurge in Palestinian terror attacks on Israelis, by falsely claiming that Israel is planning to change the status quo regarding access to the contested Temple Mount.

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