The initial findings of a study on the current generation of Palestinian terrorists confirms charges that they have been acting on al-Aqsa-related incitement, as well as personal frustrations and social pressure.
The study, conducted by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center and released on Tuesday, said that the ongoing stabbings and shootings, in which 11 Israelis have been killed and hundreds injured, are the product of the general strategy of “popular resistance” adapted by the Palestinian Authority and Fatah at a meeting held in August 2009.
The strategy calls for violent demonstrations, rock-throwing, firebombing and stabbings; the occasional shootings are not part of the plan, but the Palestinian leadership has refrained from condemning them and are in fact supportive of them as well.
The Center’s research focused on 35 terrorists who carried out attacks in Yerushalayim and elsewhere in Israel in the past month. Twent-four of the subjects were apprehended during the crime, 11 of whom were wounded. They were responsible for 29 attacks, most of them in the capital or its environs.
Although their backgrounds differed, the Center’s experts were able to sketch an initial profile: Palestinian 17-19 years old, unmarried, with no prior terrorist record, no link to any existing terrorist organization, and a resident of east Yerushalayim. Most of the incidents were so-called “lone wolf” attacks, based on personal decisions, often spontaneously, without orders from any organization. The average terrorist was not acting out of religious motives, although he was influenced by incitement disseminated by various terror groups claiming that the Israelis are trying to harm or take over the al-Aqsa mosque.
The study noted certain differences between terrorists acting in Yerushalayim and central Israel versus those in Yehudah and Shomron. The former group comes from east Yerushalayim, whereas the latter are chiefly from the Chevron area.
Another difference is age: The former group is 18 on the average; the latter 20.
During the current period, we have witnessed Palestinian youths entering spontaneously into deadly attacks in which they know their own lives may be taken (even though the chances of accomplishing their murderous aims are actually low), which are reminiscent in that respect to the suicide bombings of the second intifada.
This testifies to the depth of frustration and despair prevalent in the Palestinian youth. This generation did not experience the second intifada, but it grew up in the shadow of violence which characterizes such “popular resistance.” They are in despair over the so-called “Israeli occupation” and the failure of the Palestinian Authority to achieve an independent state through diplomatic means. Hence, they resort to violence.
The incitement to “defend” al-Aqsa against alleged Israeli usurpation exploits the fertile soil of frustration and despair, offering an outlet, however destructive.
The present research results are only partial, as they do not focus on terrorists in Yehudah and Shomron. The authors stress that data on that group could well provide a different profile.