1. This study is an interim summary of the Palestinian popular terrorist campaign, currently concluding its seventh month. The campaign was triggered by a slogan falsely claiming that “Al-Aqsa mosque is in danger.” The violent confrontations between Palestinian rioters and the Israeli security forces in the Temple Mount compound spread to Jerusalem during the Jewish High Holidays [second half of September 2015]. At the beginning of October 2015 a wave of stabbing attacks began in the Old City of Jerusalem (with attacks on October 3, 4 and 7). From the Old City the attacks spread to the heart of Israel: Petah Tikva, Qiryat Gat and Afula (October 7, 8 and 9), and from there to various locations in Judea and Samaria.
2. Since the terrorist campaign peaked in October 2015 its intensity has decreased.
However, it is still too early to determine whether it has lost momentum, or if the decrease is temporary and the campaign will be renewed.
3. This study is based on a wide variety of sources, most of them affiliated with Israeli security or the Palestinian media. The information herein was also included in dozens of ITIC bulletins dealing with the terrorist campaign since its initiation (available on the ITIC website in eight languages). To make it easier for the reader, the study takes the form of questions and answers about the tactical and strategic aspects of the terrorist campaign.
The Appendix provides visual examples of the incitement to violence and terrorism accompanying and provoking the campaign.
4. Methodology: The findings of the ITIC study do not necessarily match the data and conclusions drawn by various security and civilian groups in Israel and abroad that also monitor the Palestinian terrorist campaign. The differences in conclusions and occasionally in data may arise from the use of different data bases, different methodologies or different viewpoints.
Characteristics of the Current Palestinian Terrorist Campaign
5. When did the current terrorist campaign begin?
1) In ITIC assessment the current terrorist campaign began with the stonethrowing attack carried out on the eve of the Jewish New Year (September 13, 2015) which led to the death of Alexander Levlowitz. Palestinians threw stones at his car in the southern part of Jerusalem. He was critically wounded and died the following day.
During the High Holidays (second half of September 2015) Palestinians rioted on the Temple Mount and east Jerusalem, motivated by a propaganda campaign falsely claiming that “Al-Aqsa mosque is in danger.” On October 1, 2015, the riots transitioned into serious terrorist attacks and a broad terrorist campaign which spread from east Jerusalem to other cities in Israel and then to various locations in Judea and Samaria.