The Arabs killed during the violent disturbances of the past few months are mostly young people, ages 27-18, single, some of them were college or high school students, many were residents of Hebron, Jerusalem or the Ramallah region. Most preferred to confront the Israeli security forces near their place of residence. The main conflict area was in and around Hebron, followed by Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem. This profile, composed by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, fits most of the Arabs killed in the current terror attack, using knives, ramming motor vehicles and firearms.
The Amit Center has based its interim findings on the profiles of Palestinians who were killed during violent clashes with Israeli security forces in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip, October 3 to November 22, 2015.
The study authors confess that “we were unable to conclude unequivocally whether the profile of demonstrators who were killed represents all the participants in demonstrations, or just the ‘frontline’ participants. It is our view that the profile of the casualties distinguishes those who were daring, ready to confront security forces knowing their chances of getting hurt were high (some have done it many times before). However, most of the demonstrators (students, schoolchildren, women) taking part in the violent confrontations remain in the back. They do not come in contact with the Israeli security forces and their profile may differ somewhat from that of the dead.
One particular characteristic of participants in violent demonstrations is the high number of youths who are associated—on different levels of contact—with various organizations, especially Fatah (the PA), Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (Gaza Strip). It is reflected in the biographies of the dead, in multiple mourning posts published by various organizations, in “stately” funerals in Judea and Samaria, and Palestinian officials being involved (PA, Fatah and Hamas) in condolence visits with the families in mourning. This may indicate the more institutional nature of the violent demonstrations as opposed to the apparent spontaneous and personal nature of the attacks.
Another finding which emerged from the survey is the relatively high number of “professional protesters” who participated in violent riots in the past, some of whom have even been detained or imprisoned in Israel. This finding also supports the claim of these being non-spontaneous, but organized violent protests.
Fatah and the Palestinian Authority are the most prominent among the organizers of demonstrations in Judea and Samaria, which they view as a key component in the strategy of “popular resistance.” Many demonstrations are likewise organized by various terrorist organizations (Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine). Occasionally the organizers are the student associations affiliated with various organizations (with the latter taking care of the transportation of students to the locations of demonstrations). Other organizers are NGOs, trade unions and school children.
Still, according to the survey, unlike the violent demonstrations of the first two Intifadas, the demonstrations accompanying the current terrorist attacks do not attract multitudes (dozens and hundreds, rather than thousands of participants). This is because the Palestinian Authority and Fatah take care to contain the violent protests and prevent them from running out of control; and because most of the Palestinian public does not respond to calls to go out to demonstrate, being preoccupied with their pressing daily affairs. Likewise, numerous calls to mark “days of rage” don’t succeed in getting a large number of protesters out to the streets. Special events such as funerals of “martyrs,” terrorist’s home demolitions, or IDF roundups bring out the locals and temporarily increase in the number of demonstrators and the level of friction, but even those usually don’t evolve into mass protests.