Monday, October 8, 2018

Industrial park shooting exposes fragility of coexistence - Yoav Limor

by Yoav Limor

-- terror attacks such as Sunday's shooting undermine Palestinian interests by diminishing Israeli desire to offer economic gestures.

Terrorist Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na'alwa flees the scene, Sunday
Screenshot: CCTV 

Sunday's terrorist attack in the Barkan Industrial ‎Park in Samaria, in which Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na'alwa, 23, ‎from the West Bank village of Shawika, killed two Israelis and wounded a third, was ‎another example of how fragile and elusive the vital ‎yet perilous Jewish-Arab coexistence is across Judea ‎and Samaria.‎

Industrial zones in the area employ thousands of ‎Palestinians – 250 alone in the ‎Alon Group facility where the shooting took place – ‎in an attempt to ensure as many of the West Bank's ‎residents as possible are able to earn an honest living. ‎

Numerous studies into the motives of terrorists show ‎that allowing individuals to provide for their ‎families is the surest way to keep them out of the ‎cycle of violence.

That is why Israeli defense ‎officials support increasing the number of work ‎permits issued to Palestinians. This comes from the simple understanding that ‎employment leads to fewer terrorist ‎attacks while denying work permits only fuels ‎tensions.‎

This is also the reason why Sunday's attack ‎undermines, first and foremost, Palestinian ‎interests: It diminishes Israel's willingness to ‎offer the Palestinians economic gestures. In this ‎case, it also means toughening security checks and imposing restrictions on ‎the Palestinian employees ‎across the Barkan Industrial Park.

It is doubtful that Na'alwa set out to undermine ‎coexistence, as he is not affiliated with any known ‎terrorist group. Were he a Hamas operative, for ‎example, that might have been his objective.

But a lone-wolf terrorist usually strikes in familiar ‎‎ground, and Na'alwa ‎was no exception: He went to his ‎‎former place of employment, where he knew how to ‎‎circumvent security measures. ‎

The IDF and the Shin Bet security agency must ‎investigate several key issues in this case, ‎including how the terrorist got his hands on an ‎automatic rifle, why a threatening Facebook post he ‎wrote did not raise any alarms, whether he shared his plans with anyone, especially given that he ‎left a written will before embarking on his killing ‎spree, and, mostly, how was he able to walk into the ‎industrial zone with a weapon and whether he had an accomplice inside. ‎

The private company entrusted with security at Barkan ‎must also answer that last question. It must ‎prove that its people are not simply going through the ‎motions while guarding the park's gates. ‎

Although Na'alwa ‎fled and was still being pursued a day later, his behavior ‎indicated that he did not believe he would survive the ‎attack and it is doubtful he prepared a ‎hideout.

With his capture only a matter of ‎time, security forces would be wise to do ‎everything possible to take him alive, as his interrogation could help seal any holes in ‎Barkan's security protocols.‎

It could also shed light ‎on why he handcuffed his victims. Was he planning to ‎take hostages? Was he imitating Islamic State? Did he have a personal motive?‎

IDF and Shin Bet forces raided Na'alwa's home in the ‎West Bank village of Shawika, north of Tulkarem, on ‎Sunday and arrested several suspected accomplices, ‎including one of his brothers.‎

The aim is not only to curtail potential terrorist ‎activities but also to pressure Na'alwa to turn ‎himself in so as to minimize the impact on his ‎family. ‎

Past experience shows that lone-wolf terrorists ‎usually hide in familiar surroundings. If anyone is ‎helping him, they must be close ‎friends or family.

Still, security forces do not see ‎him as a fugitive, but as a "ticking time ‎bomb" who may strike again. ‎

Another concern is that this attack will inspire ‎copycat attacks. This has prompted the IDF to ‎bolster its forces across Judea and ‎Samaria, as well as reach out to Palestinian ‎security forces, as Na'alwa may be more inclined to ‎turn himself over to them. ‎

The involvement of the Palestinian security forces may ‎‎also help prevent potential copycat attacks, as ‎they ‎also understand that in the absence of a ‎diplomatic ‎horizon, the economy is the next best countermeasure ‎to terrorism and violence.‎

Yoav Limor


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