Israel Braces for 2017 as a Year of Ramped-up Palestinian Terror

The ISIS-style truck attack committed on Jan. 8 in Jerusalem by a Palestinian terrorist, who smashed into a group of IDF officer-cadets, killing four and injuring 13, has been taken by Israel’s security and intelligence authorities as the opening shot of a new wave of Palestinian terror scheduled for 2017.
This forecast is tied to four forthcoming events:
1. The incoming Trump administration will make some move – it may be only a token one – towards transferring the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The Palestinians have said they won’t take this lying down and are preparing to hit back. Although the projected embassy site is located on the western side of the Israeli capital, they regard the transfer as an act of aggression against their claim to Temple Mount.
2. June 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of a series of landmark events in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute: the Arab armies’ defeat in the Six-Day War; Jordan’s loss of the West Bank and East Jerusalem after 19 years; and the reunified city of Jerusalem’s proclamation as Israel’s capital, which the Palestinians never accepted. Each of these anniversaries has the potential for stirring fresh outbreaks of Palestinian violence.
3. The combustibility of these events may be further stoked by their occurrence in the holy Muslim month of Ramadan – a focal time of the year for radical Islamist terror.
The Muslim festival estimated to start in the Middle East on May 26 and end on June 24, coincides, moreover, with the Jewish Feast of Passover.
4. The 100th anniversary of the Balfour declaration occurs on Nov. 2, 2017. On that day in 1917, British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour signed a document committing his Majesty’s Government to supporting the founding of a Jewish national home in Palestine.
This was the Zionist movement’s crowning achievement. The Palestinians regard the declaration as a national catastrophe.
A heads-up on the threat of an upsurge of Palestinian terror around these sensitive dates was relayed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the incoming US President Donald Trump. It was agreed that they would work in concert to head off the new wave of terror or, at least, keep it within bounds, mainly by preventive steps for defusing tensions.
a). Trump’s advisers have urged Israel to hand over more land – approximately one-third of Judea and Samaria – to Palestinian security and intelligence control.
(Details of this plan appear in a separate article in this issue.)
b) Cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security forces will be beefed up. While Israel has superior intelligence, the Palestinians are closer to the field and can pick up faster on groups or individuals about to perpetrate attacks.
The US advisory team under Security Coordinator Fredrick Rudersheim will supervise this collaborative effort, which in 2016 prevented 600 acts of Palestinian terror against Israelis
c) There will be more and closer monitoring of the social media. Already, a third of the Shin Bet’s (domestic security service) manpower is employed in technology departments, over and above the massive high-tech capabilities of the IDF Military Intelligence 8200 Division. This combined cyber effort will provide analysts with the tools for singling out individuals while still on the point of launching attacks in time to initiate preventive action.
d) Israel will persevere with the policy enacted in early 2015 to stem the outbreak of terror the Palestinians launched that year (which they dubbed “Haba”, Arabic for eruption). It consisted of isolating places where terrorist attacks originated, while showering good jobs and other benefits on the rest of the Palestinian population.
e) Netanyahu, accompanied by defense minister Avigdor Lieberman and chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott, paid a visit to the IDF’s Judea-Samaria Division HQ on Tuesday, Jan. 10, for a conference on how to handle the forthcoming eruption of Palestinian violence.
Since the peak month of October 2015 – 60 attacks in all, or an average of two a day – the level of terrorist violence has tapered down to an average of 10 per month. The top-level conference focused on ways to maintain that level.
As a first step, it was decided to issue the Palestinians with another 40,000 work permits. The current figure is 160,000. The coming months will therefore see around a quarter of a million Palestinians crossing into Israel regularly for legal employment.

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