Predict the unpredictable
A new war is being waged against the lone wolves. Their attacks started last fall in Jerusalem, sparked by Palestinian fears of Jewish encroachment on the Temple Mount. But the center of the lone wolf intifada quickly shifted to the West Bank city of Hebron, with attacks on soldiers and settlers in the area, as well as across Israel.
Around that time, at the end of last year, the army began building a system to deal with the new threat that was emerging, the senior officer said. The goal was to predict the unpredictable: when, for example, a particular Palestinian youth might grab a knife from his mom’s kitchen and take to the streets to spill Israeli blood. Motives can range from nationalism to family problems, he said.
“Unlike terrorists who belong to Hamas or the Islamic Jihad, if you get to their house the week before the attack, the kid doesn’t know that he’s a terrorist yet,” the senior officer said. “So that’s the main challenge.”
Based on what was known about previous attackers, the army created an alert system that is constantly being tweaked. These days, army analysts feed huge amounts of intelligence information into that system — a combination of “social media, human intelligence, signal intelligence,” according to the senior officer, who declined to provide further details about intelligence gathering. In return, he said, the system produces a small number of alerts about potential future attacks.
“One of the ways you produce an alert is, what are the last actions that a specific individual did,” the senior officer said. “For example, if he’s exposed to incitement and right afterwards he rents a car, maybe an unregistered car, this raises questions.”
In response to an alert, options include arresting a suspect, monitoring his or her actions, intervening through the family or deploying troops to a potential target area. When attackers are arrested or killed without managing to cause carnage, future attackers are thought to be deterred.
“The attacks are decreasing because of their ineffectiveness, because most of them fail,” said Brom, the Institute for National Security Studies analyst. “There is a limit to the number of even frustrated young people who are willing to give their life and to achieve nothing. So it makes sense that over time, the numbers of attacks are fewer and fewer.”
Go after the inciters
Incitement to violence can occur in person, through traditional media or over social media. Hamas is responsible for a large portion of the incitement of Palestinians against Israel, the senior officer said.
“They create some of the memes of the high-level incitement, or the incitement which is very powerful that you see on the web,” he said. “So when you handle most of the Hamas incitement, or when you stop some of the incitement from getting to social media, you also have less incitement by private people that are just sharing a specific post or adding incitement.”
Get guns off the streets
Despite Israel’s control of the West Bank’s borders, weapons manufacturing in the territory has “increased drastically” in the past couple years, according to the senior officer. He estimated there are hundreds of production centers there.
In recent months, he said, the army has launched an organized crackdown, including closing some 20 locations producing homemade Carl Gustav submachine guns, or “Carlos,” like those used last month by two Hebron-area cousins in a deadly shooting at the upscale Sarona market in Tel Aviv.
“They paid for their suits more than they paid for the weapons,”
- A Non-Violent Activist Dies in Texas (online article)
- Are Police Taking Sides in Protests? (online article)
- Artwork, Stories and Photojournalism
- Austrian Party with Nazi Imagery Wins Big (online article)
- Devil’s Spit (short story clip)
- For Better or Worse (short story – online)
- Miss Patel’s Holiday (short story clip)
- Notes from the Obama Rally (Nov. 12, 2007)
- Remembering David Bowie (short story clip)
- Sari Sari (short story clip)
- The Media as Theater of War
- Travel Journal
- A New Yorker in Belize
- Belize: Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley
- Belmar Beach after the Storm – 2009
- Christmas in New York (2005)
- Civilization in the Jungle: Mayan Lamanai Temple
- Fruit and Flowers in the Garden State
- Jones Beach Airshow
- Protest at the UN: No to dictatorship, yes to democracy in Iran
- San Francisco 2005
- Wintery Wall Street – 2009
- Zombies at the Jersey Shore – 2009
- Two Visits to a Fast-Changing Lebanon (online article)
- Wahhabism, Saudi Arabia, and Their Gift to Yale | Omer Aziz
- Welcome to the Jungle (short story – online)
- What Would Teddy Do? (short story – online)
- Fastnet Race 1979: Life and death decision - Matthew Sheahan's story po.st/5xEpY7 via @yachtingworld 19 hours ago
- RT @Joyce_Karam: Unreal: -Nadia Murad: “They [ISIS] Killed my mom, my six brothers” -Donald Trump: “Where are they now?” -Murad: “They Ki… 19 hours ago
- RT @tomgauld: #MoonLanding50th https://t.co/mRItNjzsXu 19 hours ago
- RT @Rainmaker1973: Axolotls can regenerate limbs, organs and even parts of the brain. They are also much more more resistant to cancer than… 1 day ago
- "We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office." - Aesop (620-560 BC) 1 day ago