Prominent Trends in 2009
- 2009 displays a significant decline in the amount of attacks coming from the Palestinian Territories as opposed to previous years.
- The 2008 Gaza Operation (hereinafter: the Gaza Operation,27/12/08-18/01/09) is the reason for the decline in Gaza Strip-based attacks. The operation caused a sharp decline in rocket launchings against Israel - 566 launchings (406 of them were launched in January during the operation) as opposed to 2,048 launchings in 2008.
- In the West Bank - the continuous CT activity conducted by Israel and the Palestinian security apparatuses is the main reason for the decline in the amount of attacks. It should be mentioned that above 90% of the total number of attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem are in the form of Molotov cocktail throwings.
- The decline in the amount of attacks brought about a decrease in the number of casualties and injured people: 15 casualties, 9 of them died during the Gaza Operation (as opposed to 36 in 2008) and 234 injured people, 185 of them were wounded during the Gaza Operation (as opposed to 679 in 2008).
- It should be noted that no suicide attacks were executed in 2009.
- After the Gaza Operation, Gaza Strip-based Hamas has been focusing on rebuilding its military power and improving the network of smuggling tunnels used for smuggling various weapons, including long-range rockets.
- At the same time, Israel has managed to thwart dozens of attempts by Gaza Strip-based terrorist organizations to execute attacks in its territory using armed perpetrators through the U-Route (GS-Sinai-Israel route, hereinafter: the U-Route).
- There is also a substantial propagation in Global Jihad ideology across the Gaza Strip and a sizeable joining of dozens of military activists to different Gaza Strip-based organizations established according to Global Jihad ideology.
- Hizballah has been constantly attempting to perform the revenge attack following Imad Mughniyah's death, causing a gear up and a high level of readiness.
- Jacob (Jack) Teitel's arrest exposed a series of severe attacks he committed over the past 12 years.
- The never-ending war against terror funds - Issam Yousef's resigning from the Union of Good and seven other charity societies in Britain, including Interpal. Yousef was the executive director of these charity institutions.
Data regarding casualties in terror attacks
Throughout 2009, 15 people were killed as opposed to 36 in 2008. 9 people, who comprise most of the casualties, were killed during the Gaza Operation in January. 5 civilians and soldiers were killed by high-trajectory launchings and 4 soldiers were killed by friendly fire. On January 27, 2009, a soldier was killed by an explosive device at the Gaza Strip border line.
In addition, 5 Israelis were killed – 2 security officers were killed in a shooting attack in March at Mesua (Jordan Valley), one citizen was stabbed to death in Bat Ayin in April (WB), one was fatally wounded in an assault attack in Ashdod in May, and one was shot to death near Shavei Shomron (WB) in December.
The high level of readiness regarding Hizballah's plan to execute a revenge attack due to Imad Mughniyah's death has been maintained during 2009. Hizballah has also been striving to recruit activists to build terror infrastructures in Israel, targeting primarily Israeli politicians and VIPs.
One such example is Rawi Sultani, a resident of Tira (within the Green Line), who was arrested in August for gathering Intelligence on IDF Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi. In his interrogation, Sultani admitted to being directed by his handler to gather Intelligence on other senior Israelis and IDF bases in Israel. Another example is that of Ismail Souleiman, a Bedouin from Hajajre, Galilee who was arrested in February for joining Hizballah. He admitted to having met a Lebanese Hizballah handler in Saudi Arabia who had recruited and directed him to gather Intelligence on the activity of IDF forces located at the vicinity of his home.
The internet is also a preferred recruitment zone for terrorists. Many Israelis reported being offered to join terror activity or deliver classified information in return for payment.
War against terror funds
Several important landmarks have been made in the area of terror funds. On February 27, the Charity Commission in Britain (a commission responsible for the proper conduct of NPOs in Britain) published a report on the investigation of Interpal. The report stated that Interpal was instructed to immediately disengage from the Union of Good (global network of fund raising affiliated with Hamas). Following the report, Issam Yousef, a senior Hamas activist and founder of the Union of Good who served as its executive director and that of seven other charity societies in Britain, decided to resign from the Union of Good.
Palestinian-U.S. citizens who directed HLF's activity (Holy Land Foundation) were heavily sentenced for funding terrorism through their work in HLF. Two of HLF's leaders were sentenced to 65 years of imprisonment, and others were sentenced to 15 and 20 years of imprisonment.