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
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.
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