Shira Ish-Ran was 21 years old and seven months pregnant when she visited with her husband, Amichai, and several other people near a West Bank bus stop. A Hamas terrorist sprayed bullets into the crowd, and Shira and Amichai were among the seven people injured. They survived, but their baby died four days later.
Hamas called the attack a “heroic and qualitative operation.”
Analysts called it yet another sign of the Iran-backed terror group’s plan to oust Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party from power, moving the battle for Israel’s destruction from Gaza to the West Bank.
Bubbling to the Surface
“Over the past year, we were able to thwart 480 terror attacks, including 219 Hamas cells and 590 lone attackers,” reported Nadav Argaman, director of Israel’s primary security service, Shin Bet, last month.
“This is a very large number that is indicative of the terrorism bubbling under the surface,” he added.
Since then, what was “bubbling” has now surfaced. Many West Bank military personnel and civilians have been injured or killed in attacks, including the attack that killed Shira’s baby.
Among other very recent casualties:
- Two soldiers died in a shooting that also injured a soldier and a civilian near the settlement of Ofra
- A terrorist with a knife stabbed two border patrol officers in the Old City of Jerusalem
- A soldier was injured in a car attack near the settlement of Kochav Yaakov.
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) killed the Palestinian men responsible for both Ofra shootings last week. The first, 29-year-old Salah Omar Barghouti, is the younger son of a senior West Bank Hamas member, Omar Barghouti. Salah's brother, Assam Barghouti, spent 11 years in an Israeli prison for security offenses that included plans to abduct Israeli soldiers.
The same day that Barghouti died, IDF troops killed 23-year-old Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alowa, who was responsible for the shooting that resulted in the death of Shira’s baby.
After Barghouti and Na’alowa were killed, hundreds of people took to the streets and called on Hamas to take revenge, reported columnist Shlomi Eldar in an opinion article on the Al Monitors Israel Pulse website.
“Responsibility for preventing a further round of attacks now lies with Mahmoud Abbas and the IDF. They will have to improve their security coordination, but even that may not be enough to stop the conflagration from spreading,” Eldar concluded.
Emboldened and Bankrolled
After Hamas fired 400 rockets and mortars into Israel last month, Israel retaliated by bombing 100 Hamas sites. Egypt mediated a ceasefire bolstered by a Qatar pledge of $400 million in aid for Gaza roads, a hospital and housing.
The U.S. asked the UN General Assembly to condemn Hamas for the attack. Although a majority of the member states voted in favor of the resolution, it failed to garner the required two-thirds majority.
Hamas now has what it needs to take its fight against Israel to the new front of the West Bank.
“Hamas and its allies are openly encouraging a new anti-Israel uprising in the West Bank,” wrote Khaled Abu Toameh, an Israeli-Arab journalist, lecturer and documentary film maker, last week.
Toameh, who writes for The Jerusalem Post and is a senior fellow at the conservative New York-based Gatestone Institute, wrote last week, “Hamas and its allies are openly encouraging a new anti-Israel uprising in the West Bank. They have been emboldened by the failure of the UN General Assembly to adopt a resolution condemning them and other Palestinian groups for firing rockets at Israel and inciting violence.”
Now that Hamas is getting what it wants in the Gaza Strip – millions of dollars and no war with Israel – Toameh says it is seeking to shift attention to the West Bank, “all with the help of its friends in Tehran,” he added, citing three Hamas goals: “Undermine or overthrow the Palestinian Authority, inflict heavy casualties on Israel, and thwart any peace plan brought forward by the U.S. administration.”
Your prayers are urgently needed. Please join us in asking for:
- Middle East peace that includes an end to the crippling poverty that pushes many to join terrorist cells
- Protection of Jewish people facing more terrorist attacks in the West Bank.