Younger, more ruthless Palestinian terrorists first made their mark seven months ago with the murder in the Barkan industrial zone of Ziv Hajbi, 35, from Rishon LeZion and Kim Levengrund-Yehezkel, 28, from Rosh Ha’Ayrin. There, for the first time, we witnessed a new breed of terrorist – hitherto dismissed as “lone wolves” rather than members of a terrorist organization – who coolly plan ahead, procure weapons and mark out their targets after systematic reconnaissance. Their object is to kill and injure as many Israelis as possible. The young Palestinian killer prepares an escape route and bolt-hole with the help of willing accomplices. The “ideological” terrorist, who was wont to leave a will before blowing himself up with his victims, has made way for this new breed of mass killer, an advent marked by five features
- They have lost their fear of the IDF and go directly for Israeli soldiers and border guard police.
- Although army chiefs deny the influence of the “Eisenkot Effect” or “Elor Azaria syndrome” on the troops (the former prosecuted the latter for killing a prone Palestinian terrorist in Hebron), the fact remains that in the last three major terrorist attacks, the soldiers on the spot hesitated to shoot back. This is what happened on Dec. 9, 2018 when Palestinian gunmen in an attack at the Ofra junction took the life of an infant; in the Dec. 13, Givat Assaf attack, in which Palestinian gunmen shot dead two soldiers; and again, on Sunday, March 17, when two Palestinian killers stabbed then shot dead 1st Sgt. Gal Kaydan at the Ariel junction before snatching his M-16 and commandeering a passing car. They then continued their shooting spree at Giti Avishar junction and grievously injured two more Israelis.
- The terrorists take advantage of the highways of Judea and Samaria, which are open to the use of Israelis and Palestinians alike, for multiple attacks, moving easily from one scene to the next.
- Since last October, these killers have got away and stayed at large by studying IDF standard responses to an attack. While still on the run, these terrorists are free to prepare more attacks.
- They find encouragement from witnessing how during Hamas’ year-long cross-border campaign from the Gaza Strip, the IDF and Israel’s security chiefs were frozen in place for initiatives to cope with the menace, aside from predictable aerial bombardments.
DEBKAfile’s military analysts
conclude that the IDF, the Border Guard, the Shin Bet security service and
their masters, by remaining trapped in outdated methods of operation and static
responses, have left the arena of confrontation to the young Palestinians who are
seizing the chance to make their mark.
Prime Minister/Defense Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the minister Yoav Galant, who often represents him, declared that the killers will be caught and brought to account. This tired old mantra offers no remedy. Even when they are eventually brought to book, more of the new Palestinian terrorists are still out there and confident they can outwit their old enemy.