Hayley Pearce
Last updated: 14 March, 2016

6 months of “knife intifada”, in numbers

Yesterday marked six months of the sustained wave of terror in Israel and the Occupied Territories.

Since 13th September 2015, the eve of Rosh Hashanah and the day Israeli police raided Al-Aqsa mosque armed with rubber bullets and stun grenades, a heightened level of violence has gripped the region, from Tel Aviv to Ramallah. The bloody period has been dubbed the ‘knife intifada’ due to the regular, at times daily, occurrence of attacks.

Victims of terror attacks

Based on the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) figures from March 9 and brought up to date with Ma’an News Agency reports, Palestinian attackers have killed 34 people and injured 394 people, 4 of whom were Palestinians themselves. To date, there have been 203 stabbings and attempted stabbing attacks, 83 shootings and 42 vehicle rammings.

Attacks aren’t limited to these three categories. According to IDF figures, in October 2015 alone there were 817 violent protests, 851 stone-throwing incidents and 337 petrol bomb throwing incidents.

The military wing of Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) is quoted as describing the attacks as a “natural reaction to the ongoing crimes Israeli forces commit against the Palestinian people in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian territory Israel occupied in 1948.”

The fate of Palestinian assailants

The MFA don’t record the exact numbers of Palestinian assailants who were killed, wounded, arrested by Israeli civilians and security forces.

However, looking at the MFA reports of “major terror attacks against Israelis” since September 13 (of which they list about 180, some involving multiple assailants) and also taking into account events of the last few days, 107 of the Palestinian attackers were killed on the scene or later succumbed to wounds, 57 were apprehended or arrested, 32 were wounded, 4 fled and one handed himself in to police.

What these figures don’t include is the number of Palestinians who have been killed or wounded simply for arousing suspicion or fear in a soldier or settler, and who were actually unarmed and posed no threat. They also don’t include Palestinians killed or wounded during protests, or Palestinians killed in Gaza in airstrikes or shootings.

Amnesty International, as of 27 October 2015, “documented in depth at least four incidents in which Palestinians were deliberately shot dead by Israeli forces when they posed no imminent threat to life, in what appear to have been extrajudicial executions.” Like Israelis, Palestinians live in fear of being killed while simply going about their days. Both Palestinian terrorists and IDF soldiers have been committing unjustifiable acts that amount to war crimes. The difference is that the soldiers are practically impunitive.

Home demolitions

By way of punishment for attacks by Palestinian assailants, Israel destroys the homes of terrorists’ families. 400 Palestinians were displaced by home demolitions throughout the first six weeks of 2016. This is more than half the total number in all of 2015.

In February 2016, home demolitions reached a record high234 homes destroyed, dismantled or confiscated, displacing 331 Palestinians, including 174 children.

The Israeli policy of punitive demolitions is not extended to the families of non-Palestinian civilian assailants.

The scale of violence over the last six months is nothing short of terrifying. There is no way of justifying Palestinian attacks on civilians, only to commit to understanding the root causes. Politics, rights, disillusionment and insanity. Violence is not the answer, as it will not bring peace. Neither will occupation.