Counter-Terrorism: August 17, 2004

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Israels counter-terrorism program against Palestinian suicide bombers is not perfect, but it has had a striking effect on both the attacks, and Palestinian politics. So far this year, Palestinian terrorist organizations have attempted 94 suicide bomber attacks. Only four got through (killing 24 Israelis, and wounding 120 others.) The Israelis used a combination of better intelligence gathering, special commando units for operating inside Palestinian territory and better security at the border and inside Israel. In other words, the Israelis set up multiple defenses against suicide bombers. 

Better intelligence, including more informants inside Palestinian territory, enabled them to identify many of the small groups that recruited, equipped, trained and escorted the bombers to their targets. The commandoes were used to grab the terrorist members inside Palestinian territory, although larger army raids would also do this. The security fence made it much harder to get suicide bombers into Israeli territory, and improved security within Israel increased the chances of catching suicide bombers who got past everything else. 

The result of all this is that the Palestinian terrorist organizations are cooperating with each other more, and coming up with many new techniques. This is truly a war of wits, which the Israelis have taken the lead in. This has caused an increasing number of Palestinians to question the terror campaign against Israel. Palestinians are becoming convinced that terror is not working, and the result is a growing civil war within the Palestinian territories. The terrorists will settle for nothing less than the destruction of Israel, but without a lot of support from the Palestinian people, terrorism becomes too difficult to continue. So the Israeli counter-terrorism success appear to be at least stalling the terror organizations, and turning the Palestinian population against the terror groups.

 


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