A new unauthorized report from an Israeli emergency service offers staggering figures of attacks against Israelis in the West Bank and Jerusalem that are rarely heard about in the media.
Hatzalah Yehudah and Shomron, a volunteer emergency medical response organization that works along with the IDF and Israeli security forces throughout Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, compiled the report.
According to their statistics, there were 5,635 attacks in the first half of 2013 against Jewish inhabitants of the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Greater Jerusalem regions alone, including 611 molotov cocktail attacks and 5,144 rock attacks. In addition, there were 8 shooting attacks and 3 stabbing attacks. In total, the violence left 1 person dead and 171 injured, including a 3 year-old girl who was seriously injured.
Yehudit Tayar, a medic and spokeswoman for the Hatzalah organization, began translating the report into English and disseminating it two years ago. She told The Algemeiner that the reason behind her efforts was the fact that news of violence against residents in the area wasn’t reaching a wider audience.
“There are so many minimized reports that people hear about–if they hear it at all,” she says, adding, “we have to get the truth out.”
“If there is spray painting on the side of a mosque or an Arab’s tires are slashed it is on the news, but violence against us is ignored,” she said.
“Can you imagine being attacked on a consistent basis and it not even being reported?”
Eytan Buchman, a spokesman for the IDF, told The Algemeiner in an email that the situation isn’t perfect, but that the region is relatively safe.
“The current situation in Judea and Samaria is one of relative calm and security, particularly when compared to the previous decade,” he said.
“In 2012, for the first time in over a decade, not one Israeli was killed from terrorist action in the region. This is a direct result of ongoing security operations, including tight-knit cooperation with relevant intelligence organizations, cooperation with the Palestinian security forces, the success of the Security Fence and civil/economic measures that provide an improved routine way of life for local residents.”
Buchman does admit that violence in the area has increased, but said that the IDF was taking necessary steps to mitigate the threat against residents.
“Since operation ‘Pillar of Defense,’ security forces in the West Bank have witnessed a measured increase in acts of popular violence, including thousands of cases of projectile throwing and hundreds of Molotov cocktails,” he told The Algemeiner.
“In many cases, these incidents stem from isolated activity that is difficult to project and therefore contain. The IDF has increased deployment in certain flashpoints in order to contain this violence. In addition, legal measures have been taken against offenders, with over 1,300 indictments for terrorist activity and over 850 indictments for rioting served by the Military Courts in Judea and Samaria in 2012.”
Security forces have done a stellar job of thwarting larger scale terror attacks. In January, according to Hatzalah’s report, security forces broke up a Hamas cell in the Hebron region which was planning to carry out out terror attacks. And in May security forces also exposed a cell under the command of Hezbollah that was planning to carry out kidnappings and other terrorist activities.
For her part, Tayar says that while the security forces have made changes, including increasing patrol units in the area, but in general she feels as if the security situation is deteriorating. “It’s become worse,” she says, “and our so-called Palestinian peace partners honor the terrorists and incite against us,” she said, before adding, “so we’ll continue with our efforts.”