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Give more land]The Palestinian Terrorism of the Past Year: Causes and

Friday, October 14, 2016 5:25
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(Before It's News)

[Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: At the end of the day Kobi Michael suggests
unilateral territorial concessions to the Palestinians with the hopes that
this will improve the well being of the Palestinians.
Why not think "out of the box"?
Without a doubt the simplest way to jump start the Palestinian economy is
massive settlement construction which would employ many thousands of
Palestinians with the wages earned by each Palestinian employed injecting
money into the Palestinian economy. This together with a revolutionary move
of Israeli work permits for all Palestinians except those barred for
security reasons would improve Palestinian lives faster and more efficiently
than any program based on relying on funding to the corrupt PA.]

The Palestinian Terrorism of the Past Year: Causes and Policy
Recommendations
INSS Insight No.862, October 14, 2016
Kobi Michael

SUMMARY: The scope and complexity of the wave of “lone wolf” terrorist
attacks that have plagued Israel over the past year do not seem to reflect a
single, principal phenomenon. Different actions by individuals have
different motivations, although many of the actions share an underlying set
of reasons and factors. Israel cannot address all of the fundamental
problems motivating “lone wolf” terrorism, but it can moderate some of these
factors with the goal of partially addressing the causes of the phenomenon
and not just its symptoms. There is great importance in maintaining a low
level of friction with the Palestinian civilian population and continuing to
refrain from collective punishment. In addition, Israel can make a very
significant contribution toward improvement of the economic reality in the
West Bank and the Palestinian Authority’s strengthened ability to govern.
This in turn can enhance the PA’s public support, which has significantly
eroded in the past year.

The wave of “lone wolf” terrorism that has plagued Israel over the past year
was marked predominantly by stabbing and car-ramming attacks, as well as
occasional shooting incidents and organized attacks carried out by the Hamas
infrastructure in the West Bank. The expressions of this wave of terrorism
have fluctuated since it began in September 2015, alternating between
periods of calm and periods of friction. Note that the visible manifestation
of the phenomenon is limited compared to its true scope. According to
reports, hundreds of attacks have been thwarted over the past year, and it
is likely that without these efforts by both Israelis and Palestinians, the
actual scope of the phenomenon would have been much greater and more
violent.

In addition to its volatility, the wave of terrorism has also been cyclical:
attacks by individuals lead to an Israeli response – in most cases the
killing of the perpetrator (“neutralizing”). This in turn intensifies
feelings of despair and desire for revenge among Palestinians, and so on. In
effect, both sides are trapped. Periods of calm or declines in the volume of
actual attacks should be attributed to the individual and joint preventive
efforts of both the Israeli and Palestinian security forces. This is
particularly due to the Israeli effort to distinguish between the population
not involved in terrorism and the perpetrators of terrorism, and to minimize
the areas of friction between Israeli security forces and the Palestinian
population. But in practice, the phenomenon and the potential for escalation
and widespread outbreaks remain: the decrease in the volume of attacks
should be seen as a result of treating the symptoms, not their causes.
Without truly addressing the causes, this wave of terrorism will presumably
continue with all its fluctuation and erraticism. There is likewise the
possibility of a dangerous deterioration due to a loss of control –
resulting, for example, from the collapse of the Palestinian Authority or a
significant decline in the performance of its security forces and their
security cooperation with Israel  or an especially harsh response by
Israel.

The scope and complexity of the wave of attacks do not seem to reflect a
single, principal explanation for the phenomenon. Different actions carried
out by different individuals have different motivations, although many of
the actions share a common set of reasons and factors.

Among the external causes of the wave of attacks is inspiration originating
with the Islamic State and the caliphate vision, alongside contrasting
inspiration from the Arab Spring. These sources of inspiration are supported
and strengthened on social networks, which also expose the younger
generation to “Western pleasures” and to the zeitgeist (human rights,
democracy, self-determination), paint the reality of the lives of the
younger generation with dark, depressing colors, and undermine whatever
remnants of hope they have regarding their personal futures. At the same
time, social networks expose the younger generation to incitement and a
picture of despair and day-to-day difficulties offered by radical Islamic
groups such as the Islamic State. All of these exist within a reality of
ongoing ethno-national conflict with no end in sight, and daily tension,
with varying degrees of violence, between the Palestinian population and
Israeli security forces. The combination of these factors intensifies the
push to get up and do something.

Internal factors include despair at the inability of the Palestinian
leadership to advance national goals, including ending the occupation,
exercising political independence, and ensuring a better future on the
personal level, especially for young people. These join the deep frustration
with the Palestinian Authority’s low performance level, its corruption, and
its inability to provide personal security and maintain law and order. The
harsh economic reality in the Palestinian territories does not allow young
people to find themselves in the labor market. For educated young people,
the problem is even more severe. Moreover, Palestinian society is undergoing
accelerated generational changes, expressed in the weakening of traditional
sources of authority that in the past served as restraints against violence
and lawlessness. The authority of parents and “tribal elders” (sheikhs and
family elders) has eroded, as have traditional social sources of authority
that characterized the Palestinian social structure (the mukhtar and the
education system – the standing of teachers, for example). Similarly,
national and governmental institutions have declined in stature and
difficulties in enforcing law and order have grown. In most cases, in the
absence of the alternative of joining an organized terrorist
infrastructure – due to the considerable damage done to the terrorist
infrastructure in the West Bank  frustration, aggression and incitement are
channeled into “lone wolf” terrorism.

This violence does not necessarily reflect national or religious sentiments,
but rather in many cases is an expression of personal frustration and social
distress. The act of stabbing has turned into a kind of “social cleansing”
mechanism: young people whose self and social esteem have been undermined
are eager to carry out an attack in an attempt to restore their reputation
and standing. Traditional values or customs, such as family honor and blood
feuds, remain effective and influential, and thus in many cases of “lone
wolf” attacks the perpetrators are family members who are avenging the death
of their relatives who sought to carry out an attack and were killed by the
Israeli security forces, or to defend the honor of their family, as their
act is seen as atoning for or purifying the disgrace brought upon it. Added
to these internal factors are the incitement (though institutional
incitement has declined in the past two months) and the copycat effect.

Since the individuals who set out with the goal of carrying out an attack
know that their action will likely end with their death, their deeds can be
seen as a kind of sacrifice. Although some have left behind explicit wills
in which they do not attribute national or religious justification to their
actions, the general atmosphere, namely the Israeli occupation and the
political deadlock, creates a national-religious context for the attacks and
may be used to accelerate the outbreak of more organized and dangerous
terrorism.

Israel cannot address all of the fundamental problems motivating “lone wolf”
terrorism, but it can moderate some of these factors with the goal of
partially addressing the causes of the phenomenon and not just its symptoms.
There is great importance in maintaining a low level of friction with the
civilian population and continuing to refrain from collective punishment. In
addition, Israel can make a very significant contribution toward improvement
of the economic reality in the West Bank and the Palestinian Authority’s
strengthened ability to govern, which in turn can improve the restraint of
violence.

Regarding the long term, with the continued stalemate of the political
process on the one hand, and understanding the importance of a functional
and effective PA on the other, Israel can act to redefine the kinds of areas
in the West Bank. For example, Israel can redefine Area C in coordination
with the Palestinians, or independently, if this coordination does not help.
Instead of seeing all of it as a single bloc, it can be categorized into a
number of areas representing different statuses for different purposes. For
example, different areas can be designated for tourism development,
agricultural development, development of industrial parks, and
infrastructure development. Distinguishing between different parts of Area C
would enable Israel to maintain control over the most essential areas for
security and settlement needs, while allowing it to allocate land to the
economic infrastructure required for developing the Palestinian economy in a
way that expands the territory under full Palestinian control (such as Area
A). In addition, Israel can apply the model of the electricity agreement
signed recently with the Palestinian Authority to other types of
infrastructure, such as water, sewage, environmental protection, and
transportation, in a way that delegates more authority and responsibility to
the Palestinian Authority. These kinds of agreements aid in improving the
PA’s ability to govern and its political performance, reduce the chances of
its collapse, restrain violence, and may perhaps even succeed in
strengthening its public support, which has significantly eroded in the past
year. These kinds of steps might over time change the atmosphere, aid in
enlisting the pragmatic Arab world and the international community in
renewing the political process, and create better conditions for its
revival.

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