The murders of two Israelis last week – one by a Palestinian coworker and one by a Palestinian sniper – had already deepened fears that incitement by official Palestinian organs was driving a spike of violence in the West Bank. This weekend a nine-year-old Israeli girl was shot and wounded by attackers she described as masked gunmen who approached her family’s house in the Israeli community of Psagot.
Jerusalem Post national security reporter Yaakov Lappin sees a trend:
As the investigation into the terror attack in Psagot – which targeted a nine-year-old girl – continues, it’s worth zooming out and looking at the wider situation in the West Bank, where recent weeks have seen an unmistakable increase in violent attacks… figures released by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) in its monthly report for September point to an upsurge in Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilian and military targets across the West Bank and east Jerusalem…
The bottom line is that things are heating up in the sector. Hamas and Islamic Jihad are attempting to rebuild terrorist infrastructures and organize terror attacks against Israel from the West Bank on a regular basis. One recent example is the attempt by Hamas to bomb the Mamilla open mall in Jerusalem… And while the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas negotiates with Israel, incitement to violence and hatred against Israelis continues to tar the PA’s media outlets.
Hamas’s efforts to successfully conduct a spectacular West Bank terror attack have been driven by the group’s efforts to halt a slide in its popularity and restore its standing. The group is constrained from operating in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula – the Egyptians have made it clear that Hamas faces heavy retribution for any activity – while Israel’s security fence around the Gaza Strip has prevented attacks from Hamas-controlled territory. The West Bank is the next logical outlet.
This weekend’s Psagot terror attack, however, is being linked to the Palestinian Fatah faction, Hamas’s main rival. Fatah’s Facebook page praised the shooter in effusive terms, declaring that “the sniper of Palestine was here… he left a signature of [real] men.”
Fatah’s incitement echoed other recent declarations from the organization and its top officials, including statements glorifying convicted terrorists, calls for further attacks against Israelis, and claims that Jews are endangering Muslim holy sites.
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