On April 17th 2017, about 1500 Palestinian prisoners started an open-ended hunger strike, while the Israeli Prison Service conscated the belongings of all prisoners on hunger strike including clothes, electronic devices, and salt which is essential to prisoners on hunger strike as it raises the blood pressure, prevents their stomachs from rotting and helps keep them balanced.
Tension and security situation that started in late 2015 continued throughout 2016. The Palestinian uprising that started in October 2015 was mainly characterized by lone-wolf attacks carried out by individuals non-aligned with Palestinian factions. Over 60% of attacks reported were conducted by individual Palestinians not backed by political parties, 23% belonged to a specific party but conducted individually without an order or coordination from the party’s leadership, and less than 17% of the attacks were carried out by individuals who were backed by a specific party.
Tension that started in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in mid-September 2015, intensified in October and was portrayed by pervasive clashes with ISF, along with almost daily attacks on Israelis. As the graph indicates, in comparison with October 2016, Palestinian death toll was significantly higher in October 2015. 64 Palestinians were killed, while in 2016, 9 Palestinians were killed. The Israeli death toll in 2015 was also higher as 10 Israelis were killed as opposed to 3 in 2016.
Assessment of Recent Security Developments in Palestine
After the latest wave of violence witnessed in Nablus, on August 18th, between PA security forces and unknown gunmen resulted in the death of two PA security members and two Palestinian gunmen, it has become essential to evaluate the issue of lawlessness and its effects on the Palestinian community, and the overall security situation.
One of the most debated scenarios relating to potential security complications in the Palestinian and Israeli controlled areas is the rise of the so-called “Salaﬁ Jihadists”. This phenomenon has become especially signiﬁcant given the vacuum in leadership within the Palestinian political arena. A salaﬁsts movement is an approach to Political Islam, it was ﬁrst developed by Imam Hanbal, and involves a new interpretation and understanding of Islamic teachings based on the principles articulated by the Prophet Mohammed and his companions.
This growing risk of a violent uprising in the West Bank is not only costly to Israelis and Palestinians but also harmful to different other countries interests, this is clearly seen in the U.S. efforts to control the situation.
Taking into consideration the wider frame of the constantly escalating violence in the region, a third intifada will most probably have a large impact on different elements in both the Palestinian and Israeli political arenas, especially with the leadership crisis that is constantly debated on the Palestinian side.
During the last month security measures in Jerusalem have escalated, affecting different areas within the West Bank. Protests and clashes between Palestinians and the Israeli Security Forces (ISF) were reported on a daily bases. Simultaneously, pre-planned attacks were conducted in the WB and Jerusalem- by both Israelis and Palestinians.