Occupied East Jerusalem— Three separate Palestinian attacks in eight days have killed 11 Israelis, a surge not seen in years and likely to continue.
The latest attack took place on Tuesday night in the ultra-Orthodox town of Bnebrac, east of Tel Aviv. The attacker, Diaa Hamarsheh, was a Palestinian laborer who worked in the town but lived in the village of Ya’bad outside the city of Jenin in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Hamar Shea killed five people, including a police officer, before being shot dead by police.
Two Palestinian gunmen from the northern town of Umm Fahem opened fire in the city of Hadera (Hedera) on Sunday, killing two border police officers. This follows an attack on 22 March in which a Palestinian from the village of Hura in Naqab (Negev) carried out a stabbing and car crash that killed four Israelis.
All Palestinian attackers were killed at the scene by police or armed Israeli civilians.
While the first two attacks were carried out by Palestinians allegedly affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS) group, the attackers in the Bnei Brak incident were reportedly affiliated with an armed wing of the Fatah political movement, which manages Author of the Palestinian Authority (PA) based in Ramallah.
The apparent increase in the frequency and magnitude of attacks appears to mark a new phase in ground confrontation.
Awad Abdel Fattah, a Galilee-based political analyst, sees the violent crackdown by Israeli forces on nationwide Palestinian protests in May 2021, and the lack of Palestinian leadership, as one of the recent increases in attacks. factors that they believe may continue.
“These are personal attacks, and this pattern emerged in 2015,” Abdel Fattah told Al Jazeera. “They are the result of the lack of a strong popular struggle that the Palestinian leadership is supposed to lead… The alternative at this point is that individual attacks will continue and will increase at a faster rate than before.”
Much attention has been focused on ISIL’s claims that it is responsible for the Hadera and Naqab attacks.
A senior Israeli police officer told Israel’s state broadcaster Kan, “The authorities are concerned that it may be the Islamic State. [ISIL] Sleeper cells in Israel will be launched with further attacks. Israeli media also reported that 20 to 30 ISIL cells are believed to exist in Israel, and 12 alleged ISIL supporters were arrested in northern Israel on Monday night.
However, Abdel Fattah argues that the group has so far not been particularly active in Israel or the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, and there is little evidence that support for the group has grown.
“The group has no clear presence in Palestine – some have been arrested on suspicion of affiliation. The vast majority of Palestinians loathe the group and acknowledge its role in destroying the Arab uprising in the region,” Abdel Fattah said .
In recent days, senior Israeli political and security officials have held emergency meetings to discuss how to respond. Thousands of police and army reinforcements have been deployed inside Israel, in the occupied West Bank and on the border with the besieged Gaza Strip.
In a speech on Wednesday morning, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett described the developments as “enormous and complex challenges” that require adaptation to “new threats”.
“[The security establishment must] Read the signs of lonely individuals, sometimes without organizational affiliation, and take control on the ground to stop terrorism before it happens,” Bennett said.
Israeli settlers turned up at rallies on the main road across the occupied West Bank following yesterday’s attack, where Palestinian vehicles were reportedly attacked near Nablus and Salfit.
Inside Israel — what most Palestinians call “the occupied interior of 1948” — emerged videos of Israelis smashing Palestinian cars in the town of al-Lydd (Lord).
The situation on the ground has been tense since April and May last year.
Israel’s attempt to forcefully evict residents of the Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheikh Jallah followed by violent attacks on the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem during Ramadan led to mass protests in Palestine, between Israeli and Palestinian armed movements 11 days of confrontation in the besieged Gaza Strip.
The protests were violently suppressed and hundreds of people were detained. Arrests of Palestinians for these incidents continued until February of last month.
In major cities in Israel, including Haifa, al-Lydd and Ramle — towns that were ethnically cleansed in 1948 and are now home to a small Palestinian settlements), things escalated to banks, raids on Palestinian homes and lynchings.
Ameer Makhoul, a political analyst based in Haifa, believes that Israel’s security reinforcements in recent days were part of a plan drawn up after last May’s uprising, and this time the response will be more intense.
“Israeli security establishments are failing and they will take this to the Palestinians. Punishment will be collective,” Makhoul said, citing Israel’s response to the September 2021 escape of six Palestinian prisoners in which all The prisoners were subjected to collective punishment measures.
Jewish security groups
Attacks by armed Jewish groups are also expected to increase, especially in Israel.
“There is a sense of fear on the Palestinian stage with the growth and expansion of these fascist groups,” Abdel Fattah said. “Israeli society is heading towards fascism, which could lead to a massacre,” he said.
Armed Jewish groups have attacked Palestinians in Naqab in at least three incidents since the beginning of last week, leaving several hospitalized. A former Israeli police officer has also formally established an organized Jewish armed group operating in the area. While police kept their distance from the group, officials made no effort to stop it.
Similar Jewish militias operate in al-Lydd.
“I think we are at the beginning of a new phase of the epidemic [Jewish] Attacks on Palestinians,” Makhoul said.
“When Israel’s security apparatus fails, it uses organized Jewish terror groups to terrorize Palestinians and create fear – a phenomenon that began in the occupied West Bank and is being replicated in the occupied interior.”
“The settlers are not their own entities – if Israel wants to stop them, it can, but there is no political decision to do so,” Makhoul added.
Despite the lack of clarity surrounding the Palestinian attacker’s political affiliation and the Palestinian public’s perception of the attack itself, analysts say it is a direct result of Israeli policy.
“Regardless of how Palestinians perceive such attacks, they are the result of Israel’s willful neglect of the Palestinian cause, the consolidation of settler colonization projects, the devaluation of these peoples and their rights in unprecedented ways, made up of regional powers and the world, “Abdel Fattah said.