Hamas Playing with Fire on Two Fronts

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While Hamas is still firing rockets from Gaza and trying to infiltrate Israel’s southern border, much of the terror group’s recent focus has been elsewhere. Writing at JNS, Yoav Limor looks at how Hamas is trying to fan the flames of violence in the West Bank, as well:

The string of recent terrorist attacks leaves no room for doubt: For the first time in a while, Israel faces combustible situations in both Gaza and Judea and Samaria.

In theory, the two sectors are unrelated. The terrorist who carried out the vehicular assault in Gush Etzion on Friday acted alone, without direction from any terrorist organization. (Though it’s certainly possible he was inspired by the terrorists who a week earlier murdered Dvir Sorek in the same area.) Nevertheless, the attack (like the one before it) can still be traced back to Hamas.

The terrorist organization was quick to hail the attack, stating it was the result of the struggle for the Temple Mount. These two words—Temple Mount—are a proven recipe for incitement, certainly during the week of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which traditionally sparks regional tensions anyway.

Thus far these terrorist attacks haven’t roused the Palestinian public from its general state of apathy. There have been no riots in Judea and Samaria—but Israel cannot ignore the rise in serious terrorist attacks, and especially their contagious effect. For now, decision-makers are refraining from bolstering forces stationed in Judea and Samaria, but increased vigilance is certainly required.

In Gaza, too, the general public remains largely disengaged from recent events. The border demonstration on Friday was “normal,” without an unusual number of participants—but the rocket fire on Friday and Saturday is another story.

While Friday’s rocket (which was intercepted) was dismissed within the defense establishment as “yet another act by recalcitrant and disillusioned jihadists”—similar to the infiltration attempts that were foiled in recent weeks—Saturday’s rocket barrage cannot be attributed to the neighborhood nutjob. There was a guiding hand behind it…

Tags: Gaza Hamas Israel JNS Terrorism West Bank Yoav Limor

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