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January 19, 2021 2:49 pm

Israel’s Shin Bet Fears More Terror Attacks in 2021, Better Hamas Capabilities

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

The IDF’s new ‘Ghost Unit’ conducts an exercise. Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Office.

After a year in Israel notable for the lack of a major war, a marked decrease in terrorist attacks and a downturn in casualties, the Shin Bet — the country’s domestic security service — believes that 2021 will be very different.

The security situation in 2020 was relatively calm. Three Israelis were killed in terror attacks, as opposed to 10 in 2019 and 16 in 2018, and some 430 terror attacks were thwarted, down from 564 in 2019 and 581 in 2018.

But Israeli news site Walla reported Tuesday that the Israeli Security Agency, also known as the Shin Bet, believes 2021 will be characterized by a marked deterioration in the security situation, for a number of reasons.

Among them is a pending cutoff in “salaries” paid to imprisoned Palestinian terrorists by the Palestinian Authority, which will likely escalate tensions. The upcoming change in the US administration, with President-elect Joe Biden taking office Wednesday, will raise uncertainty over whether hundreds of millions of dollars in funds to the PA, cut off by the Trump administration, will be resumed.

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In addition, the Shin Bet believes that tensions between Jews and Palestinians in the West Bank will likely worsen, leading to more violence and possible hate crimes.

The security service also foresees a deterioration on the Gaza front. Despite relative calm on the southern border recently, the ruling terrorist group Hamas is steadily building up its military capabilities and attempting to foment terrorism in the West Bank. The Shin Bet believes this may emerge as the most pressing threat to Israel’s security in 2020.

Despite these warnings, the agency also presented factors that could help ameliorate tensions, such as the 100,000 Palestinians employed in Israel, the restoration of security and civilian coordination between Israel and the PA, and the launching of joint projects.

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