Foiled attacks against Israel

London - published on 18 June 2004
Beyond Images Ref: 88

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Most Palestinian attacks against Israelis are foiled by Israeli security forces. But foiled attacks don’t make news outside the country. In this Briefing we describe some major attacks which have been prevented in recent weeks. Those who claim that there is a “lull” in the violence misread current events.

Since January 2004, 72 Palestinian suicide bombing attacks have been foiled by Israeli security forces, according to testimony given by the Head of Israeli Military Intelligence to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee (Jerusalem Post 15 June 2004).

According to the Israeli Chief of Staff, 95% of all terror attacks – shootings, bombings, missile attacks etc – are thwarted by Israeli forces (interview with Moshe Ya’alon on Israel Radio, reported in Hamodia 30 April 2004). Here are some attacks which have been foiled in recent weeks:-

  • Six Hamas bombers were intercepted at the Karni border crossing into Israel, who were planning to set off the bombs they were carrying “simultaneously” in Israel (Jerusalem Post, 15 June 2004)

  • A car laden with over 100 kilos of explosives was intercepted by Israeli soldiers on a road out of the Gaza strip (Jerusalem Post, 14 June 2004)

  • Israeli security forces foiled a plan by an East Jerusalem resident (a member of a West Bank terrorist cell) to bomb the entrance to Prime Minister Sharon’s residence or, as a fallback plan, a synagogue in the central Jerusalem district of Mea Shearim. The bomber was a delivery company driver who reportedly had access to the Prime Minister’s residence. The attack was planned for 16 May 2004 (reported in Haaretz, 15 June 2004).

  • Israeli soldiers opened fire on a jeep near the Gaza settlement of Kfar Darom, laden with hundreds of kilos of explosive. The jeep, driven by a Gaza Palestinian, was disguised to look like an Israeli jeep, with an Israeli flag hanging from its side. It blew up next to an Israeli army vehicle, wounding four soldiers, but its interception averted what could have been a major disaster (Jewish Tribune, 29 April 2004).

Our comments

Terrorist attacks against Israel often make news – if only briefly. But foiled attacks don’t even do that. They are an aspect of the intifada that is hidden from international view. The continued efforts of Palestinian groups to kill large numbers of Israeli civilians shatters three misconceptions:-

“there is a lull in the violence” – This is only because of Israeli security measures, not because the Palestinian groups do not wish to cause mass terror;

“Israeli security measures are excessive” – These measures need to be viewed in the context of the threat Israel faces. The measures are saving lives;

“There have been more Palestinian than Israeli casualties in the violence since September 2000” - This is correct in terms of actual casualties. But there are many more intended Israeli casualties than intended Palestinian casualties.

Related Beyond Images Resources

Mega-terror: the escalating danger to Israel – Briefing 3

Close to Catastrophe at Pi Glilot: Israel’s largest fuel depot attacked – Briefing 4

Casualties: why are there more Palestinian than Israeli victims? - Briefing 11