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Israel’s Terror Wave Is Becoming a Tsunami

By Ron Ben-Yishai/Ynetnews.com

Security forces’ entanglement during an operation in Jenin on Monday, June 19 created in Shomron Palestinians, especially those affiliated with terror organizations, a desire for revenge alongside a sense of accomplishment.

The rescue operations conducted by the IDF, which took about nine hours, likely contributed to a perception that the Palestinian resistance in the Shomron has found a formula for success, a result of increased use of explosives and opening fire on moving vehicles on Israeli roads.

The desire for revenge, coupled with the boost in motivation from their successful resistance, is what led to the Palestinians’ intensified violent activities that began Monday with a car-ramming attack that injured two IDF soldiers and continued on Tuesday with a terror attack at the Eli settlement’s gas station.

One can see in this series of events, which began in Jenin, a turn for the worse both in terms of the terrorists’ motivation and their capabilities to confront and harm the IDF and the security forces, which is leading to Israel’s loss of deterrence.

Such a situation may spiral out of control and turn into a third intifada which will involve large segments of the Palestinian population in all parts of the Shomron, and which could also motivate Palestinians in Gaza to act.

Hamas took responsibility for the attack, and it’s evident–based on the weapons used, the operation’s planning, and the escaped terrorist’s intentions to stay alive–that this was a relatively well-trained terror cell.

The two assailants are from the Palestinian village of Urif, located about 13 kilometers south of Nablus, meaning it is also located in the northern Shomron, and it’s possible that the Hamas terror cell was waiting to be called from there.

This situation requires changes in combat tactics and increased pressure on potential terrorists, both through intelligence gathering and through field operations, both defensively and offensively.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, following a situation assessment later on Tuesday, ordered the bolstering of forces along the Shomron’s main roads and for defending nearby Israeli settlements. The Shin Bet will likely increase its activities to gather intelligence and target potential terror suspects.

However, this isn’t enough: In order to cut off what appears to be an ongoing wave of Palestinian terror attacks, despite efforts by the Shin Bet and the IDF, offensive action is needed.

At the same time, everything must be done to limit the scope of such operations and avoid measures that would harm the Palestinian population as a whole in the Shomron.

What is needed right now isn’t a new Defensive Shield operation, but rather a series of smaller, focused operations in Jenin, Nablus and the surrounding areas.

The operations aren’t intended to occupy the territory, but aim to close off and limit the area from which attacks can be launched, including within Jenin and Nablus themselves. The moves will be conducted based on intelligence provided by the Shin Bet, indicating the location of weapons caches, explosives labs, and key operatives within terror groups.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s demands to “demolish buildings and carry out targeted airstrikes” will achieve nothing except to push Palestinian youths–young adults who have thus far kept their distance from violence–back into the cycle of terror.

The focus should be on the northern Shomron, primarily around the cities of Nablus and Jenin, where significant damage needs to be done to terrorist infrastructure, while also conducting arrests and other intelligence-gathering moves that will allow for impactful results.

In the rest of the Shomron, where the Palestinian Authority operated, the main emphasis should be on defensive operations along the main road, including checkpoints on the highways used by Palestinians and Israeli settlers.

The IDF should be prepared to put up random checkpoints and perhaps even close the entrances and exits of Palestinian villages from which terror attacks originated, but not in a complete manner–rather, on a targeted basis based on intelligence gathering.

This will still affect the economy and the way of life in these areas of the Shomron, but to a lesser extent than a full-blown military operation.

In the northern Shomron, the impact is unavoidable, but even their efforts should be made to operate in a focused manner that distinguishes between the population that supports terror and those who are completely uninvolved with it.

Experience has shown that a functioning economy, a way of life and a significant presence of Palestinian security mechanisms contribute to security more than any other means.

The IDF, Shin Bet and Border Police need to focus on disrupting the production of explosives, finding illegal weapons, and apprehending potential terror suspects.

This mission is complex: forces must do so in a targeted manner and according to intelligence data, so that at its end–in a few weeks or days–they will be able to leave the area and put an end to the wave of terror attacks that we’ve seen since March 2022, which continue to become deadlier.

Ron Ben-Yishai is an Israeli journalist. A veteran war correspondent, Ben-Yishai has covered many military conflicts in several different regions. In 2018, he won the Israel Prize, Israel’s most prestigious civic honor.

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