Opinion: On the one hand, the PA is taking proactive steps to stop armed militants and most of the Palestinian public has so far not joined in on the fight; on the other, terror attacks are becoming an everyday occurrence, while settlers are growing anxious

The West Bank has been experiencing a very tough time recently in terms of its security situation: riots, terror attacks, clashes between settlers and Palestinians, and so on.

Nonetheless, some positive things have also happened in the past few weeks that could maybe yield a more stable future:

מעצרים ביהודה ושומרון במסגרת שובר גלים
IDF troops lead away a terror suspect caught in Nablus, West Bank (Photo: The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit )


1- The Palestinian Authority is back in business. It may not be going at the pace or depths that Israel would like it to, but still the Israeli side is expressing partial satisfaction with the Palestinian security apparatus as it steps up its anti-militant activity, especially in Nablus and Jenin.

The PA is even taking action against the new Nablus-based the Lion’s Den terror group. And while arrests of organization leaders are still being avoided, arresting their supporters and members sends an important message to the public.

One of the relatively surprising elements in PA’s security mechanisms is its return to the “wanted persons’ agreement,” which means the arrested wanted individuals are offered amnesty deals from Israel in exchange for turning in their weapons.

2- In the past two week there have been two deadly shooting attacks: in the Shuafat checkpoint in east Jerusalem and near the West Bank settlement of Shavei Shomron, The attacks resulted in the deaths of a Border Police officer Noa Lazar and IDF soldier Ido Baruch. Last Friday evening an attempted attack took place near the settlement of Beit-El.
One of the terrorists, Qays Shajaiya, 23, who is affiliated with Hamas, was shot dead, while his accomplice was arrested.

זירת פיגוע הירי במחסום שועפט
Police forces in the aftermath of the Jerusalem shooting attack on Saturday (Photo: AFP)


The instructions given to the forces is to engage with the terrorists, so they don’t have a chance to flee and be hailed as heroes. One of those “heroes” is Uday Tamimi, who carried out the attack at the Shuafat checkpoint. Footage has gone viral on social media, showing Palestinian teens cutting their hair to have similar haircuts to that of Tamimi, potentially in an attempt to make it harder for the Israeli security forces to catch him.

That tactic appeared to have worked since Tamimi was on the run for 11 days, until he attempted to carry out yet another attack on Wednesday evening, but was shot dead by the Israeli security forces and no troops were harmed.

3- The general Palestinian public is still keeping their heads down and trying to avoid getting involved in violence. Despite the growing number of terror attacks and the increase in armed combatants, the current unrest is still not considered an intifada. Even at the Shuafat refugee camp, the place which saw the most intense clashes over the past week, things have somewhat cooled down.

שביתה בעיסאוויה במחאה על הסגר במחנה הפליטים שועפט
Shuafat refugee camp


The Lion’s Den, meanwhile, is receiving a surge of support on social media (although TikTok has blocked them), and in the face of new combatants who are rising up to join the organization’s ranks. However, at the end of the day most of the Palestinians are only trying to go on with their day-to-day lives.

Nonetheless, we can’t ignore the red flags that are surfacing:
1- The terror attacks are migrating south. The attempted attack in Beit El is an outlier as of now, but we can’t pretend Nablus and Jenin are completely disconnected from the rest of the West Bank.

The Tapu’ah Junction used to act as the non-tangible border for terrorists, and Israel would rarely see West Bank-originated incidents take place south of there. That is no longer the case.

2- There is an increase in violence perpetrated by Jews against Palestinians, masquerading as revenge campaigns, what may be the biggest red flag yet that things are about to deteriorate further.

On Sunday, Palestinian-owned rooster coops were set on fire, resulting in the death of some 300 roosters, stones were thrown toward Palestinian vehicles, and the area surrounding the Palestinian town of Huwara is becoming a hub of violence where harassments by settlers against innocent Palestinians is becoming commonplace.

עימותים בין יהודים ופלסטינים בחווארה
Settlers riot in the West Bank town of Huwara (Photo: Arik Marmur)


Furthermore, while the event in which extreme right-wing MK Itamar Ben Gvir pulled out his gun in Jerusalem’s tense Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood may have not yielded any casualties, its viral documentation has certainly stirred the pot.

So where all this is going?

It’s hard to say. When it comes down to it, one Israeli success in thwarting a terror attack, or one failure, could set the tone for how things play out in the near future in the West Bank. The same could be said about the settler violence against Palestinians.

Every incident could be the one to break that fragile line between widespread escalation and relative stability.

As reported by Ynetnews