From November 29, 1947, when the United Nations voted for partition and Jewish statehood, until the start of the current violence in September 2000, some 755 Israelis were killed in terror actions here or abroad. Some 674 Israeli civilians have been killed since September 2000.
Dichter said that in 2004, 22 Israelis—or some 30 percent of the total casualties so far this year—have been killed in Hizbullah-directed operations, carried out by the Tanzim-Fatah faction. The increased involvement of Hizbullah is a worrisome trend.
In addition to the increase of Hizbullah involvement in Palestinian terror attacks, Dichter said that there has been a substantial increase in the Palestinian use of women and children under 18 to carry out attacks. If in 2001, women and children took part in some 3 percent of the attacks, in 2004 they accounted for some 81 percent of attack perpetrators.
Dichter said this statistic reflects both the difficulty the Palestinians are having in successfully carrying out attacks involving men and the fact that the Palestinians are increasingly turning to “weaker and more impressionable” parts of the population for recruits. Additionally, 17 percent of all Israelis killed since the beginning of the violence involved east Jerusalem Arabs.
While Dichter said Israel has had wide success in stopping suicide attacks, it is still unable to reduce the motivation to carry them out. He said that since January 2003, Israel has succeeded in foiling 70 percent of the attempted suicide attacks, and that since January 2004 this number has reached 77 percent. He reported that the number of terror warnings remains steady at about 50 a day.
Another sign that the Palestinians are having difficulty carrying out attacks is the increase in the use of Kassam rockets. Dichter said that in 2004 alone the Palestinians fired 168 Kassam rockets, or 40 percent of all the Kassams fired since they were first put into action in 2001.
Dichter informed the Cabinet that in his estimation Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Yasser Arafat had managed to survive recent chaotic weeks in the PA and calls for reform by using his “classic techniques,” such as new appointments and promises of reform. He said that even those in the PA who were opposed to these appointments had resolved themselves to the new situation. Dichter said that Arafat had succeeded in diverting the Palestinian public’s attention from calls for reform by focusing on perceived threats to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Excerpted from an article by Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post
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