Shin Bet: Feelings of Discrimination Driving Palestinian Youth Toward Terror

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Palestinian youths throw stones at the police during clashes in East Jerusalem, October 4, 2015. Credit: Reuters

Palestinian youth engaging in terror recently are not acting on anyone's orders but rather motivated to act "based on feelings of national, economic and personal deprivation," according to a report by Israel's Shin Bet security services released on Tuesday.

The Shin Bet did not find any organized idea or leadership behind the attacks. The report notes that feelings of gender discrimination and mental illness are also factors. In certain cases, the attack allows the perpetrators to escape a reality "that they are unable to change," according to the report.

Shin Bet officials note that over 90 percent of the attackers are men. Seven women carried out terrorist attacks. They add that the attackers draw inspiration from social networks and the incitement found among them, "mostly incitement by Palestinian Authority leaders."

According to Shin Bet data, 82 percent of the attackers are aged 16-25, while 72 percent of them are from the West Bank, mostly the Hebron or Ramallah regions, and another 23 percent are permanent residents from East Jerusalem. The remainder are Israeli Arabs, according to the Shin Bet. Most of the attacks, 62 percent, are perpetrated in the West Bank.

"The activity of those Palestinian youths, who are driving the present terror wave, is not organized but rather spontaneous and popular," the report noted.  "Its source – incitement and spreading false rumors about an Israeli attempt to undermine the Al-Aqsa Mosque, also supply an immediate, religious-symbolist motive, and navigates violent protest and terror in the direction of the State of Israel."

The report observed that the youths "live on the Web, and are nourished by information sent on the Internet, which glorifies the Palestinian claim that the attackers are victims of 'Israeli aggression,' and that they were in fact 'executed.'" It added, "Likewise, there is an internal dynamic feeding itself (of attack, death of the attacker and then avenging his death)."

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