(JNi.media) “Israel will have to make decisions regarding active responses to the Palestinian incitement, with the chief instigator being Mahmoud Abbas,” Minister of Transport and Deputy Prime Minister Israel Katz said Sunday morning on Army Radio, following the two violent attacks that took place Saturday night in Jerusalem. “We must win this struggle, and if need be we’ll launch Operation Defensive Shield 2 and Operation Walls of Jerusalem. We must step up measures to boost Israel’s security,” Katz said.
In 2002, Defensive Shield was a large-scale IDF military operation, the largest in Judea and Samaria since the 1967 Six-Day War. It was an attempt to bring a stop to lethal terrorist attacks, especially in suicide bombings, most notably the March 27 suicide bombing during Passover Seder at the Park Hotel in Netanya that killed 23 Jews. Beginning on March 29, 2002, a siege on Yasser Arafat’s Ramallah compound was followed by incursions into the six largest cities in Judea and Samaria and surrounding villages. From April 3–21, the IDF operated to crack down the terror infrastructure in these areas, while imposing strict curfews on civilian populations and restrictions of movement of international personnel, including human rights monitors and journalists.
Operation Defensive Shield resulted in an initial drop of 46% in the number of suicide bombings, from 22 in February–March to 12 in April–May, and a 70 percent drop in executed attacks between the first half of 2002 and the second half. 2003 saw 25 executed suicide bombings, compared with 56 in 2002, but, more crucially, there was sharp rise in stopped attacks — 184. 2003 also saw a 35% drop in the number of fatalities from 220 deaths in 2002 to 142 deaths resulting from suicide bombings.
It took at least two more years of security and police work to break down the terror infrastructure in Judea and Samaria, which remains broken even while violent attacks have been increasing. At least until recently, Israeli security sources were convinced that the majority of these attacks in 2014-15 have been carried out sporadically by individuals.
Against the background of the recent terror attacks in Jerusalem Saturday night and Sunday morning, there have been telephone conferences with the heads of the defense establishment, and new guidelines have been issued, according to Minister Katz, who said “the security system works in full force in Judea and Samaria. There is significant progress and arrests of people in the Shechem area. The Henkin couple’s murder has been solved, and of course we are enhancing the forces on the ground.”
“If we’ll have to launch Operation Defensive Shield 2, we will,” Katz told Army Radio. “We are not interested but it can happen. We will adopt clear decisions to address this terror. The cabinet will be required to make decisions. We must become the aggressors and they the persecuted assailants, until they are stopped. If we must go from house to house and from camp to camp to eliminate the weapons and terrorists, we’ll do it,” Katz warned.
Transportation Minister Katz also gave the green light Saturday night to begin paving a new road in Samaria, Route 55 leading Karnei Shomron and Kedumim, bypassing the Arab villages of Azun and Nebi Elias. Plans for the new road have been concluded a long time ago, but former Finance Minister Yair Lapid blocked the project.JNi.Media