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The Palestinian terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip regard the last round of escalation as having negative results but claim "victory." (IICC) Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center) March 23, 2012)Source: http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/ipc_e269.htm Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (IICC Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (IICC Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
The Palestinian terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip regard the last round of escalation as having negative results but claim "victory." They boast of disrupting daily life in Israel´s south, threaten to launch longer-range rockets, and lyingly claim Israel agreed to end the targeted killings.

Overview

1.The last round of escalation in the Gaza Strip ended, in our assessment, with the Palestinian terrorist organizations regarding it as having had negative results rather than benefiting them, for the following reasons: Israel prevented a terrorist attack on the Israeli- Egyptian border with the targeted killing of Popular Resistance Committees commanders; the rockets fired from the Gaza Strip were relatively ineffective, causing relatively few civilian casualties despite their exceptionally large number; the success of the Iron Dome aerial defense system in intercepting and destroying rockets; the relatively large number of casualties among the terrorist organizations, especially the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, compared with the small number of Palestinian civilian bystander casualties.

2. All of the above, in our assessment, contributed to the terrorist organizations´ sense that they had lost the last round of escalation. As in the past, that caused them to rush to provide a public propaganda response, but may also force them to learn operational lessons (such as finding a way to challenge the Iron Dome).

3. The PIJ´s "victory narrative" (endorsed and supported by Hamas) is based on two main claims:

1) The first is the terrorist organizations´ [the "resistance"] ability to disrupt the daily lives of more than a million Israeli civilians living in the country´s south. That led to the claim that the Iron Dome´s success in intercepting and destroying the long-range rockets targeting major population centers was meaningless when compared to the fact that schools were closed and normal commercial activity was disrupted, both represented by the Palestinian terrorist organizations as effective standards by which to judge the rockets´ efficacy.

2) The second is that the lull arrangement brokered by Egypt which ended the escalation was an unprecedented Palestinian achievement. The core of the achievement – a baseless claim, as usual – is that the PIJ exacted a political commitment from Israel (by inference through Egypt) into abandoning its targeted killings of terrorist organization operatives. There was also a threat that if targeted killings were resumed, they would lead to the launching of longer- range rockets into the center of Israel (further afield than Ashdod).

4. Such a victory narrative includes, in our assessment, preparing the ground politically and propaganda-wise for the next round of escalation. The PIJ (not necessarily Hamas) wants to keep repeating the cycle of escalations which end with fragile lulls in which it would not be forced to pay a high price. Thus it can be expected that the PIJ (and possibly other Palestinian terrorist organizations) will represent future Israeli counterterrorism activities as "violations" of the so-called understanding reached to end the present round of escalation. In that way the PIJ hopes to establish a kind of balance of deterrence with Israel, which will enable it to continue its terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip and maintain its image as the leading terrorist organization, while at the same time preventing Israel from responding to terrorist threats in the future

Dilemmas for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad

5. The last round of escalation strengthened the image (within the Gaza Strip population) of the Iranian-sponsored PIJ in the Gaza Strip as the organization undertaking most of the fighting against Israel. Hamas, on the other hand, was perceived as observing from the sidelines and as once again giving more weight to issues of governing, politics and internal Palestinian considerations than to its commitments as part of the "resistance" [i.e., anti-Israeli terrorism].

6. Nevertheless, in our assessment, the overall balance of action- reaction in the last round was problematical for the PIJ (and even more so for the Popular Resistance Committees), for the following reasons:

1) On the one hand, the PIJ, which joined the attacks despite the fact that the targeted killing had not been directed at an operative of its own, launched most of the rockets with ranges greater than 20 kilometers (12.4 miles). Of the 20 terrorist operatives killed by IDF fire, 14 belonged to the PIJ (the other six belonged mainly to the PRC).

2) On the other hand, the PIJ did not force Israel to pay a high price in lives for the targeted killing of two senior PRC terrorist organizations and the deaths in air strikes of its own operatives, despite the massive amounts of rocket fire directed against Israel, far greater than in previous rounds of escalation (About 240 rockets were fired at Israel, 170 either falling in Israeli territory or intercepted by the Iron Dome, which was successful in destroying long- range rockets.). In addition, public conduct on the home front contributed to the small number of civilian casualties. While a number of civilians were wounded and damage was done to property, in our assessment, the PIJ and PRC regarded the price exacted from Israel as far too low.

Rocket Hits in Israeli Territory since January 2011

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