Palestinian Attacks Decline in Face of Israeli Counterterrorism

Israeli security forces and military are beating Palestinian terrorism. Israeli Soldiers. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Israeli security forces and military are beating Palestinian terrorism. Israeli Soldiers. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Six months after the latest wave of Palestinian terrorism hit high gear, the number of attempted “significant” attacks has decreased dramatically according to a report from the Israel Security Agency (ISA). The reason? Israeli counterterrorism has been so effective it has “left a sense among the Palestinian public (especially lone terrorists) that escalation is useless,” according to a summary of the ISA report released by the Prime Minister’s office.

In October, there were 78 “significant attacks”—an onslaught that over six months has resulted in approximately 270 such attacks ranging from shootings and stabbings to vehicle attacks. But about 90% of those attacks were committed before March. During that entire month, there were just 20 significant attacks, and so far just three in April as of the ISA report that was released on Sunday. Israel recognizes that more still must be done, but they also see solid reasons for what their security forces have been able to do to drive down the terror numbers.

“The main reason for the major decline in the number of terrorist attacks is Israel’s ramified counter-terrorist operations including effective counter-terrorist operations against Hamas… effective deterrent measures to prevent additional attacks and determined action against Palestinian incitement,” said the ISA report. “All of these were in the context of an effort not to disrupt the fabric of life of a majority of the Palestinian population, which is not involved in terrorism, and to continue cooperation with the Palestinian security services.”

The ISA didn’t focus solely on Palestinian terror. The report noted that counterterrorism against the rare instances of Jewish terror against Palestinians has also been effective, which the report noted has “contributed to calming the situation.”

The Israeli counterterrorism against the Palestinians has managed to thwart more than 290 significant attacks since the start of 2015, which included 25 attempted kidnappings and 15 planned suicide attacks.

While most of the attacks have been done by Palestinian young people in the so-called “lone wolf” isolated attacks, groups like Hamas have also been “trying in recent months to carry out major attacks in Judea, Samaria and Israel in order to accelerate the escalation.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recognizes it’s not over yet, but he commended the efforts so far by the security forces in comments released by his office on Sunday.

“I say this with great caution because this trend could reverse itself, but we know that it has been achieved up to now as a result of the government’s strong, responsible and methodical policy. I would like to commend the IDF, ISA and Israel Police for implementing this policy, for the alertness of the soldiers, police and commanders, and for the combined offensive and defensive effort that has led to the terrorists’ succeeding less.”



Netanyahu noted that successful counterterrorism not only prevents attacks now, but also prevents future attacks. “To the extent that we reduce the success rate, we reduce the number of those joining, and this is the main thing that we are doing, along with—of course—very strong actions against the incitement of the Palestinian public.”

Nonetheless, the ISA report agreed with Netanyahu in acknowledging that the threat isn’t over yet: “Still there is considerable tension and there are various elements (mainly Palestinian terrorists and others) who are working incessantly to undermine stability.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, April 10, 2016)


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