After Palestine’s Mahmoud Abbas’s “bombshell” speech at the UN, which turned out to be more like a flashbang, it seems as if the Palestinian street interpreted it as a sign that the Palestine leaders are no longer devoted to the old Oslo agreements. With the recent dramatic increase in terror attacks, it looks as though Israel is about to face another intifada.
”Thus, we declare that as long as Israel refuses to commit to the agreements signed with us, which render us an authority without real powers, and as long as Israel refuses to cease settlement activities and to release of the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners in accordance with our agreements, they leave us no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only ones committed to the implementation of these agreements, while Israel continuously violates them. We therefore declare that we cannot continue to be bound by these agreements and that Israel must assume all of its responsibilities as an occupying power.”
A few days ago, the Henkin family—a husband, wife, and four of their children—were on their way back from a class reunion to their home in Neria, a small community of 200 or so families in Samaria. As the car passed the Palestinian village of Beit Furik, a terrorist cell of five Hamas operatives approached their car from the opposite direction. The cell operatives shot and killed both adults at close range while the commander secured their escape route. One of the gunmen injured his comrade by accidentally shooting him just as they were about to execute the kids, and his condition forced the gunmen to leave the scene, according to the Shin-Bet official statement. From experience, I must add that the area of Beit Furik was largely unprotected during my service there. The roads are dark and offer plenty of areas for concealment along the way—perfect for an ambush.
Shin Bet named the cell leader as Ragheb Ahmad Muhammad Aliwi, a previously jailed Hamas fighter from Nablus, who recruited the other four terrorists and was involved in the mission preparations. He was also suspected to be the “brain” behind the technical/tactical aspect of carrying out the attacks, and apparently provided the others with several weapons, which were hidden at specific points across Nablus.
The other four were identified as Yahia Muhammad Naif Abdullah Hajj Hamad, who carried out the shooting itself; Samir Zahir Ibrahim Kusah, the driver of the car who is linked to a previous terror attack; Karem Lufti Fatahi Razek, the gunman who was wounded by gunfire from one of his fellow cell members during the attack; and Zir Ziad Jamal Amar, who cleared the way for the car to carry out the attack.
While the rest of the cell members were caught within 72 hours by way of a cooperative effort between Israeli police and the military across the West Bank and around Nablus, Razek was found hospitalized in one of the six hospitals in Nablus. This one was not easy, as it was located in the heart of Nablus. Situations such as these are the reason the IDF conducts recovery efforts using swarming techniques, which, instead of conventional tactics such as surrounding a city, dividing suburban sections, etc., are performed by systematically attacking from many directions. The operation itself, even with handling the influx of intel, was performed quickly and precisely.
It seems as if the Israeli government’s recently introduced, more forgiving ROE is already beginning to crack. “This murder will not pass without a response,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said recently. “We have already increased our forces in the field. We are changing the forces’ operations in the field, and we will find these murderers and bring them to justice. Most importantly, we will take action that will ensure there’s no reward for terror.”
It looks like that brief “quiet and peaceful” moment between Israel and Palestine is close to an end. This is quite sad, as once again civilians will inevitably become involved in this absurd conflict, but like black clouds that slowly form above our heads, it is a circle—it forms, it pours down rain, and then it goes away.
(Featured image courtesy of haaretz.com)