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Terrorism Before and After Oslo

Until the signing of the Oslo Accords and the subsequent IDF withdrawal from cities in Judea and Samaria, no more than ten to twenty Israelis were killed each year in terror attacks, even at the height of the first Intifada. After the Oslo Accords, terrorism escalated, taking an average of 50 to 70 Israeli lives each year.

In 1999, Ehud Barak was elected to form Israel’s government. Barak’s Labor government offered Yasser Arafat unprecedented concessions, including almost all of Judea and Samaria, as well as the division of Jerusalem. The response to Israel’s overtures was not the expected peace, but a sustained terrorist onslaught unprecedented in scope. At the height of the second Intifada in 2002, 452Israelis were killed and many thousands more injured. 

While 2002 will be remembered as a year of great tragedy and suffering for many Israeli families, under the stewardship of Ariel Sharon it was also the turning point in the war on terror. As a result of the terrorism, the IDF launched Operation Defensive Shield, which culminated in the IDF regaining control of Judea and Samaria’s Palestiniancities, striking a fatal blow to the epicenter of the terrorist infrastructure. Overall, the IDF severely diminished the capabilities of the Palestinians to perpetrate acts of terror emanating from Judea and Samaria. Years later, Israel still enjoys the fruits of the success of Defensive Shield and other smaller operations, asthe number of fatalities has dwindled.

Following Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip (including Gush Katif), the Palestinians launched a new front in theirterror war on Israel. Israel’s southern cities and the half million residents who call them home became the new central target for Palestinian terrorism. Since the disengagement from Gaza, the citizens of Israel living south of Ashdod have lived under a constant and deadly barrage of shells, mortars and Qassam rockets emanating from the Gaza Strip. If Israel’s much more densely populated central Dan Region   metropolis, is to avoid sharing the south’s fate, Israel cannot surrender territory again. : Israel must continue to maintain control of Judea and Samaria.

Preserving Israel’s Intelligence- and Information- Gathering Superiority

Israel has become a world leader in the war on terror, achieving unparalleled successes in counter-terrorism. The IDF and the General Security Services (Shin Bet) have spearheaded Israel’s exceptional accomplishments, employing innovative counterterrorist strategies to systematically dismantle the Palestinians’ terrorist infrastructure. Over the course of a few years, Israel’s successes transformed the very nature of the state. Within a few short years, a once terror-stricken state in which busses and restaurants exploded almost daily, with fear rampant in the streets and dozens of fatalities each month, became a country able to safeguard its citizens’ security that is economically prosperous and has even managed to revive and expand its tourism industry.

Success in the war on terror is based on three interdependent principles: superior information and intelligence, operational freedom and the physical capability to disrupt terror networks. All three of these pillars are entirely dependent on the state’s control of and permanent presence in Judea & Samaria.

Israel’s physical presence in Judea and Samaria allows for the use of agents and informants,surveillance, wiretapping and observation points throughout the area. Likewise, Israel’s armed forces also enjoy freedom to operate and disrupt terror through the use of security checkpoints, destruction of bomb-making facilities and targeted killings. Currently, Israel’s presence also ensures that the surveillance systems on its security fence and at security checkpoints can continue to gather vital intelligence that delays terrorists and provides the security services with enough time to intercept them before they reach their intended target.

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