Libmonster ID: UK-1464


Candidate of Historical Sciences


Doctor of Historical Sciences

Lobachevsky Institute of International Relations and World History, Nizhny Novgorod State University

Keywords: State of Israel, Jerusalem, West Bank, "transport terrorist attacks", Hamas

In recent months, starting in October 2015, a wave of violence in the area of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict began and subsequently took on a prolonged character, which became known as the" Al-Quds intifada", i.e., the"Jerusalem intifada". Regarding these developments, Khaled Mashaal, chairman of the Hamas political bureau, said: "The current process is really the beginning of a 'classic' intifada with all the characteristics, and not just an uprising. " 1

What are the causes of this wave of violence, and what are its differences from previous intifadas, which disrupted the relative calm in one of the most saturated crisis situations and armed confrontation regions in the world?2 What are the prospects for further developments related to this intifada?

The answer to these questions is relevant due to the fact that the Israeli experience gained in countering many waves of violence is of interest to a number of States fighting terrorism. Although the "Al-Quds intifada" is just a part of permanent violence, and not a qualitatively new round of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In this regard, for a better understanding of it, it is advisable to refer to the events immediately preceding it.


In the summer of 2014, the State of Israel had to fight in both parts of the Palestinian arena-both in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank. In June, three students from a religious school were abducted in the West Bank. The response was a large-scale operation "Bring back the Brothers", during which the Israeli security forces significantly weakened the infrastructure of the Palestinian radicals. In addition, the situation around the Gaza Strip escalated, which led to a new large - scale operation-"Unbreakable Rock", conducted by Tel Aviv against the military units of the Palestinian enclave in July-August of the same year3. Against the background of events around the Gaza Strip, there was a noticeable activation of anti-Israeli forces.

The attacks followed almost one after another and were carried out by Palestinians both in the West Bank and directly on the territory of Israel. One of the centers of tension was Jerusalem, where the number of cases of violence and terrorist attacks increased significantly. Increased frequency, which has already become tra-

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violent clashes between Arab youth and Israeli security forces. A number of terrorist attacks have resulted in Israeli casualties. The terrorist attack on the Keilat Bnei Torah synagogue in Jerusalem on November 18, 2014, was particularly bloody. The attack was carried out by two Palestinian terrorists armed with firearms and bladed weapons.4 The synagogue massacre caused a great response not only in Israel and the Middle East, but also around the world.

During the pre-Quds Intifada attacks of 2014-2015. The Palestinians actively used molotov cocktails, stones and cold weapons against the Israelis. The central element of the so-called "popular resistance"5 is the widespread use of stones and Molotov cocktails. For the militants of the so-called "popular resistance" in general, it is typical to use simple and affordable "improvised means"as weapons. Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and firearms were used by the radicals only on a limited scale. In the period leading up to the Al-Quds intifada, Palestinians often used vehicles as weapons, which was not new - Israelis had previously dealt with such "transport terrorist attacks".

The victims of the hit-and-run attacks were mostly pedestrians, including both civilians and members of the Israeli security forces. Such actions do not require planning, training, psychological preparation, manufacture or purchase of weapons, as well as preliminary collection of information6, which makes it extremely difficult to prevent them. For the Israeli security services, the situation is complicated by the fact that there are many cars with Israeli license plates in Jerusalem, but they are driven by Arabs who may be planning an attack.7 Such attacks pose a threat not only in Jerusalem, but also in the West Bank, as well as in the "inner" territory of Israel.

In the context of Jerusalem and the West Bank, where the "resistance" forces are opposed by Israeli and Palestinian security services," transport attacks " can sometimes be even more effective than attacks with firearms or IEDs, not to mention actions involving stones, cold weapons, and Molotov cocktails.

The "psychological" factor is also important: if a suicide bomber is already initially doomed to death, then people who are not ready for self-sacrifice can also commit "transport terrorist attacks", which expands the circle of potential terrorists who can decide on such an action. In addition, under certain circumstances, a "car" terrorist can escape from the scene of the attack. Apparently, in the future, "transport terrorist attacks" will be used by Palestinian radicals in the fight against Israelis.

A characteristic feature of many Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis is their spontaneity.8 However, despite the" amateur "nature of the attacks within the framework of the so-called" popular resistance", the Israeli security services also had to deal with their" systemic " manifestation. Thus, in the period preceding the "Al-Quds intifada", the so-called "popular resistance" in some cases became organized and structured, 9 which is not surprising, since coordinated actions can often be much more successful than single ones.

It should be noted that in the fall of 2014, Israeli security forces neutralized a group of Palestinians who were planning to blow up a suicide bomber in Tel Aviv.10 Israelis have experienced terrorist attacks of this kind before. Such attacks usually lead to significant casualties and almost always cause increased attention from the media and a large public response, 11 which is an important factor in the information and psychological confrontation.


Naturally, even before the beginning of the "Al-Quds intifada", the Israelis, taking into account the experience of past years, sought to stabilize the situation and prevent an increase in violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank. The situation here was not simple before. In particular, the head of Israel's General Security Service (Shin Bet) Yoram Cohen on the situation

page 14

the West Bank stated that "... since 2012, we have seen a steady increase in the number of terrorist attacks and attempted attacks on the military and civilians. " 12

In the course of countering the violence, the Israelis had to attract additional forces. To ensure security in Jerusalem, the Israeli police conducted operation "Guardians of the Walls". As part of the operation, several thousand additional police officers, Border Police (MAGAV) and special forces personnel were deployed in East Jerusalem and in areas of conflict.13 At the same time, a similar operation using the forces of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was not carried out.

The current situation in Jerusalem at that time did not require the rapid use of army units. In addition, the presence of IDF soldiers could provoke an increase in violent actions on the part of the Palestinians. This scenario, which was extremely undesirable for the Israeli leadership, was quite likely, given the fact that the self-identification of Arab residents of East Jerusalem is based on the Palestinian national identity.14

The Israelis also used "traditional" responses to counteract the violence. One of them is the so - called targeted events, which were largely "targeted" in nature. By taking concrete actions, Tel Aviv undoubtedly took into account both the state of affairs in the Palestinian-Israeli settlement and the negative reaction of the international community to Operation Protective Edge. In general, Israeli political practice has a close relationship between the development and implementation of policies in the field of international relations and measures to ensure the security of the State and its population.15

At the same time, the Israeli leadership considered the possibility of increasing violence by Palestinians. This is evidenced by the large-scale unscheduled IDF exercise conducted in the West Bank in early March 2015, involving thousands of reservists16.The exercise was aimed at improving the operational capabilities and combat readiness of IDF services17. At the same time, it was stated that their conduct was not dictated by the existence of an immediate threat to Israel's security. The exercise, among other things, worked out actions to be taken in the event of mass riots in the Palestinian territories.18

The Israelis had ample reason to prepare for an upsurge in violence in the West Bank. This is evidenced by the actions of Palestinian radicals in the period before the beginning of the " Al-Quds intifada "and, first of all, the actions of the Hamas organization, which approved the commission of" resistance actions " and called for their continuation, which contributed to the destabilization of the situation in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Husam Badran, a spokesman for Hamas abroad, welcomed any signs of "resistance" in the West Bank and Jerusalem, saying that "...single operations are performed by real heroes " 19. Such statements motivated potential terrorists to take more active actions.


Incitement in various forms is one of the main factors contributing to the activation of the so-called "popular resistance". In this regard, the information front, where radicals are traditionally very active, was one of the main ones in the Palestinian-Israeli confrontation. However, the Israelis failed to achieve significant success in combating the inflammatory activities of their opponents, which eventually led to an increase in violence, which quickly took on a threatening scale.

Ismail Haniyeh, the deputy chairman of the organization's political bureau, said: "... together with other factions, we are developing a program for intensifying the armed struggle in the West Bank in all its manifestations." 20 The fact that the Hamas movement has taken a course to activate the "resistance" in the period before the beginning of the Al-Quds Intifada is evidenced by the words of Ismail Haniyeh, the deputy chairman of the organization's political bureau. These intentions of Hamas were supported by concrete actions. One of them is the passage of so - called "high-quality military training" by Hamas operatives for operations in the West Bank outside of this territory, including in the Gaza Strip.

page 15

In the fall of 2014, Israeli security forces uncovered two Hamas military cells operating in the West Bank, whose members were preparing to operate outside the territory.21 Later, the Israelis exposed a Hamas militant cell in Qalqilya (Palestinian Authority, West Bank), whose members also received military training outside the territory controlled by the Palestinian authorities.22

This practice undoubtedly contributes to increasing the combat capabilities of Hamas cells operating in the West Bank. The Hamas cells operating in this territory cannot compare with the combat units of the Gaza Strip in terms of the level of training of militants, the quality and quantity of weapons they use. The continued development of the combat capabilities of radical organizations in the Palestinian enclave is one of the main threats to Israel's security.23

The situation in the West Bank differs radically from the Gaza Strip. Building up the combat capabilities of West Bank groups is difficult due to the effective counteraction of radical structures by the Israeli and Palestinian security services. A radical improvement in the quality of weapons used by radicals is also almost impossible. Therefore, almost the main hope of the radicals in the West Bank region today can only be "high-quality military training" of the militants.

Thus, in the period leading up to the Al-Quds Intifada, the so-called "popular resistance" played an increasingly prominent role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, posing a serious threat to Israel's security. At the same time, the situation in the Gaza Strip remained stable and tense after the end of Operation Protective Edge, and the "systemic resistance" operating in extremely unfavorable conditions in the West Bank was in the stage of accumulation of forces.

In these circumstances, it was urgent for Israelis to strengthen their positions in the confrontation with the" systemic resistance", the vanguard of which is the Hamas movement. It should be noted that former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, as part of the fight against the wave of violence, suggested resorting to the practice of targeted liquidations against Gaza radicals: "It is necessary to return to the practice of targeted liquidations of those terrorists who sit in the Gaza Strip and lead terror actions in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria 24 and throughout our country countries " 25.

For obvious reasons, Israel's implementation of such a measure is guaranteed to result in another surge of military tension near its southern borders, which, in view of the events of the "Al-Quds intifada", as well as the military potential of the radicals of the Gaza Strip, was extremely undesirable for Tel Aviv. However, in the confrontation with the radicals of the West Bank, Israel had more freedom of maneuver, which was reflected in the active actions of its security forces. For example, in the second half of October and the first half of November 2015, more than 100 Hamas activists were detained in the West Bank during army operations. At the same time, Israel did not announce any special operation to eliminate the infrastructure of radicals in the West Bank.26

* * *

Israel is one of the States where the system of countering terrorism functions most successfully.27 Over the past two years, from 2014 to 2015, the Israeli security forces have been quite effective in countering the activities of structures of Palestinian radicals in the territories of Jerusalem and the West Bank. These successes were achieved by the Israelis largely due to their considerable experience in fighting " systemic resistance." However, it was extremely difficult for the Israeli security forces to resist the so-called "popular resistance", which is also not a new enemy. In particular, due to the difficulty of fighting lone-man terrorists, as well as the inflammatory activities of radicals, although the efforts of Israelis to counteract this activity have gradually increased.

To the above, it should be added that the so-called "popular resistance", which plays one of the main roles in the "Al-Quds intifada", is currently a significant component of the Palestinian-Israeli confrontation.

page 16

1 Cit. by: Khaled Mashaal: "The beginning of the 'classic' intifada with all its characteristic features... " / / Palestinian Information Center - %2bils7JXkHFBG81yIYne50dllwH526YVBfR6lCT4%2b348PvecavogdHj9nQcD721Q%2b QbIlxlFUtqEupSgc5o5SMDC%2bsKLwt9xTEBcmIeh2AwKldeGA%3d

Savicheva E. M. 2 On the issue of the geopolitical situation in the Middle East: interaction of regional and global trends. Vestnik RUDN. Series "International Relations". 2014. N 3, p. 16. (Savicheva E. M. 2014. K voprosu о geopoliticheskoi situatsii na Blizhnem Vostoke: vzaimodeistvie regionalnykh i globalnykh tendentsiy // Vestnik RUDN. Seriya "Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya". N 3) (in Russian)

3 For more information, see: Borodina M. Yu., Ermakov A. A., Ryzhov I. V. The 2014 Summer War in Gaza. A new page in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict / / Asia and Africa Today. 2014. N 12. (Borodina M.Yu., Ermakov A.A., Ryzhov I.V. 2014. Letnyaya voina 2014 goda v Gaze. Novaya stranitsa palestino-izrailskogo konflikta // Aziya i Afrika segodnya. N 12) (in Russian)

4 As a result of the terrorist attack in the Jerusalem synagogue, five people were killed (summary as of November 19, 2014) / / Meir Amit Information Center for the Study of Terrorism -

5 News of terror and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (August 19-25, 2015) / / Information Center ... -

6 Jerusalem as an object of terrorism: increasing terrorist activity in Jerusalem and increasing involvement of East Jerusalem residents in it / / Information Center... -

7 Intifada in Jerusalem: Hamas welcomes terror -

Siboni G. 8 Confronting Spontaneous Terrorist Attacks // The Institute for National Security Studies

9 News of terror and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict (September 21-October 7, 2015) / / Information Center... -

10 News of terror and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (December 10-16, 2014) / / Information Center... -

Grigorov Yu. M. 11 Terrorist suicide bombers in the arsenal of modern terrorism tools / / Obozrevatel -Observer. 2010. N 9, с. 107. (Grigorov Yu.M. 2010. Terroristy-smertniki v arsenale sredstv sovremennogo terrorizma // Obozrevatel - Observer. N 9) (in Russian)

12 Cit. by: The IDF is concentrating forces in Binyamin county -

13 News of terror and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (October 22-28, 2014) / / Information Center... -

14 Jerusalem as a terrorist target: increased terrorist activity in Jerusalem and increased involvement of East Jerusalem residents.

Kornilov A. A. 15 the Debate politicians and experts of the state of Israel on issues of national security // Vestnik RUDN. Series "International Relations". 2014. N 2, с. 65. (Kornilov А. А. 2014. Debaty politikov i ekspertov gosudarstva Izrail po voprosam natsionalnoi bezopasnosti // Vestnik RUDN. Seriya "Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya". N 2) (in Russian)

16 Unscheduled military exercises in Judea and Samaria: 13,000 reservists received calls from the army -

17 News of terror and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (February 25-March 3, 2015) / / Information Center... -

18 Unscheduled military exercises in Judea and Samaria...

19. po: Hamas welcomed the guerrilla operations / / Palestinian Information Center - %2bils7nmJrkkxJZHwdJbLHBTxCf%2fsAuveUsto%2bI%2fhG0q%2b291jVeeJpfUq%2bWs 6QiCvSlUHlCk809sUDuC5CoDEpQ135Fskrg9%2btpxQlqcxL%2bT0LGFY%3d

20 Cit. po: "How can men who set the goal of liberating ALL of Palestine dream of a quasi-state?" / / Palestinian Information Center %2bils75uttiGKevltMHSXZyl3gSnjaLfEyb5EBpD%2fTUMJT%2f0nsOPm9ExepcGxrLjH6f sRREBwWM7u51NalKCINJW5jjVGcpHFJslLBnM53YqufZ9s%3d

21 News of terror and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (November 26-December 2, 2014) / / Information Center ... -

22 News of terror and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (March 17-24, 2015) / / Information Center... -

Ermakov A. A. 23 The underground war of Hamas in the Gaza Strip / / Asia and Africa Today. 2015. N 3, p. 12. (Ermakov A. A. 2015. Podzemnaya voina HAMAS v sektore Gaza // Aziya i Afrika segodnya. N 3) (in Russian)

24 Judea and Samaria - West Bank of the Jordan River (author's note).

25 Cit. by: Lieberman calls on the government to return to the practice of targeted liquidations of terror leaders

26 Qalqilya security operation: 24 Hamas activists detained -

Zelyony V. V. 27 Everyday counter-terrorism activities as a form of combating terrorism (on the example of Israel) // Military thought. 2015. N 3, p. 65. (Zelenyi V. V. 2015. Povsednevnaya kontrterroristicheskaya deyatelnost kak forma borby s terrorizmom (na primere Izrailya) // Voennaya mysl. N 3) (in Russian)


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