Last updated: 18 October, 2013

West Bank attacks do not signal new intifada

An uptick in violence in the West Bank is cause for concern but not part of an orchestrated Palestinian campaign, Israeli media said on Friday.

A series of incidents, the latest of which saw Israeli soldiers shoot dead a Palestinian who forced his way into an army base on Thursday, have killed and injured several Israelis.

Haaretz daily’s defence analyst Amos Harel said of the violence: “Even though some of these attacks had a criminal context alongside a political motive, this is an accumulation that cannot be ignored.”

The Israel Hayom daily said on its website that the army was “refraining from characterising the recent chain of events as a ‘new intifada,’ but military officials admit that the trend is disturbing.”

Military officials said Thursday’s incident — where Yunis al-Radaydeh, 30, crashed a tractor through the perimeter fence of an army base in the West Bank neighbourhood of Al-Ram — was not a coordinated attack, telling public radio he had acted alone and was not part of a “terrorist organisation.”

Newspapers pointed out that Radaydeh, who was shot dead by Israeli soldiers after breaking through the fence, might have been copying a similar attack by his brother in 2009.

Mirii al-Radaydeh was shot dead by Jerusalem police in March 2009 after he rammed a bulldozer into a bus and a police car, injuring two patrolmen in what police called a “terror” attack.

Haaretz stressed that “not every series of terrible incidents is necessarily another intifada,” or uprising.

“Israel has not found any orders from above behind the new wave of terror attacks, not on the part of (Gaza’s Islamist rulers) Hamas and certainly not on the part of the Palestinian Authority’s leadership,” it said.

“Thursday’s incident seems to be have been thought up by a single person or a few people who are unlikely to be affiliated with a terrorist group and do not operate as part of an orderly, hierarchal organisation.”

The incident was the latest in a series of violent incidents that started towards the end of September.

On Sunday, the Shin Bet domestic security service said it had arrested three Palestinian suspects in the brutal murder of a Jewish settler on October 11 in the West Bank that had initially been labelled by police as a militant attack.

But interrogators have so far not been able to confirm that the killing was in fact politically motivated.

Suspected Palestinian attackers wounded a nine-year-old Israeli girl in a settlement near Ramallah on October 6, and two Israeli soldiers were killed in separate incidents in the West Bank on September 21 and 22.