New generation of Palestinians leads armed struggle against Israel
By Sara Gomez Armas
Ramallah, Sep 22 (EFE).- Attacks carried out by Palestinian youths with no political affiliation against Israeli troops and settlers have been increasing over the past weeks, as Israel has stepped up military raids in the occupied West Bank.
Violence between Palestinians and Israelis has been on the rise since Israel started conducting almost daily incursions in the West Bank’s Jenin and Nablus in April, resulting in dozens of deaths and arrests.
Over 2,000 Palestinian terror suspects have been detained since then, and 300 attacks have been foiled, according to the Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet).
But more than 100 Palestinians have also died. They were not only armed militiamen who responded with violence to Israeli raids, but also unarmed civilians, minors and journalists, such as Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh.
“We conduct almost daily operational incidents: shootings, attacks, etc.,” says a spokesman for the Israeli military that currently faces a new generation of young armed Palestinians, who are not linked to any political faction or militia.
Ahead of next week’s Jewish New Year celebrations, Israel has raised the level of alert, especially in East Jerusalem and in the occupied West Bank settlements.
It has reinforced surveillance along the separation barrier, through which some Palestinians enter Israeli territory to perpetrate acts of violence. In April, a Palestinian gunman opened fire on a bar in Tel Aviv, killing three Israelis and injuring several others.
A spate of Israeli raids kicked off in April, in response to a wave of Palestinian attacks on Israeli territory that killed 18 in over a month.
In recent weeks, there has been a flare-up of violence; from stabbing attacks on soldiers at checkpoints, to gunfire targeting Israeli buses and attacks on settlers.
There have been 140 armed Palestinian attacks so far this year, compared to 98 in 2021 and 19 in 2020, according to Shin Bet figures.
The Israeli military spokesman confirms that the use of Carlo improvised submachine guns in attacks has been rising, further indicating that a new generation of Palestinians ages between 17 and 24 with no recognized leaders are willing to take up an armed resistance against Israel.
“We are seeing the rise of young Palestinians who are not tied to any party, but are basically fed up with the Palestinian Authority, they don’t trust it,” Khalil Shikaki, chief of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, explains to Efe.
“They are also not waiting for a political faction to emerge to lead them, they are taking the lead,” he says.
“For them, the armed struggle is the best way to dissuade Israel’s incursions into the occupied territories, it is the only way to end the occupation,” Shikaki adds.
Both Israelis and Palestinians hold the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) largely responsible for the repeated outbreaks of violence.
Israel believes the PNA forces cannot control the situation on the ground, while Palestinians accuse them of ignoring the raids.
Yielding to Israeli pressure, PNA security forces entered Nablus on Tuesday to arrest militants from the Hamas Islamist group, designated as terrorist by Israel, which sparked clashes.