The Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

Prof. Efraim Inbar: Good economic conditions do not always overcome the deep hostility of part of the Palestinian population.

    Xinhua/China, 7.10.2018

JERUSALEM, Oct. 7 (Xinhua/China)

Two Israelis were killed in a shooting in the West Bank on Sunday morning. Another people was moderately wounded.

The attacker fled the scene without being found yet.

According to an initial statement by the spokesperson of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the perpetrator was a 23-year-old Palestinian. He was employed at the factory where he committed the attack.

The incident took place in the Barkan Industrial Zone, a settlement industrial compound in the northern Israeli-occupied West Bank, where Israelis and Palestinians work side by side.

Business at the park are owned by Israelis who often employ Palestinians living in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

In a region full of tension and friction, the industrial zone was a rare case of co-existence between two rival sides.

“It was an attack on the possibility of Israelis and Palestinians co-existing peacefully,” said Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in a statement released after the attack.

While the Israeli military said there might be additional motives behind the attack, concluding together with the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) that “the primary motive was terrorism.”

Israeli media showed CCTV footage of a man fleeing the scene, armed with a gun. Large numbers of security forces were deployed immediately in the vicinity of the industrial zone.

“We are conducting a manhunt with large and high quality forces,” said Jonathan Conricus, foreign media spokesman for the IDF, adding that “he is still armed and considered dangerous to Israelis.”

In recent years, there has been an upsurge in attacks as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict continues.

Three years ago, a new wave of violence saw over 50 Israelis being killed by Palestinians in stabbings, shootings and car ramming attacks. More than 250 Palestinians have been killed during this period, with Israeli side saying most of them are assailants.

Although Sunday’s event came after weeks of relative calm in the West Bank, waves of violence are something that the conflicting sides are accustomed to.

In September, an Israeli settler was murdered in a West Bank shopping center where both Palestinians and Israelis shop and work.

“This is not an escalation, this is something going to accompany our lives for some time,” said Efraim Inbar, president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies.

The Palestinian economy is heavily reliant on the Israeli economy.

With Israel controlling the borders, it also controls over goods coming in and out of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Over 50,000 Palestinians from the West Bank work in Israel every day. It is highly unlikely that those work permits will be cancelled in a move of collective punishment.

“A hungry neighbor is always a problem. Israel has no interest in its neighbors being hungry, but good economic conditions do not always overcome the deep hostility of part of the Palestinian population,” said Inbar.

Israeli military officials have often been quoted by media as seeing great importance in maintaining the status of Palestinian workers in Israel.

“It happened, it will happen again and it’s part of the type of interactions Israelis and Palestinians have,” said Inbar.

As the dead are laid to rest, the industrial park in Barkan will most likely resume work tomorrow as usual. It is the reality that Israelis and Palestinians are accustomed to.


Published on Xinhua, 8.10.2018.