Deadly settlement attack likely carried out by lone individual, but hardliners frustrated by unity deal may launch rockets from Gaza
A 37-year-old Palestinian man shot dead two Israeli security guards and a policeman in an attack on the West Bank settlement of Har Adar (located north-west of Jerusalem) on 26 September. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which is the most lethal since three settlers were stabbed to death in July amid heightened tensions over the Temple Mount. The attacker had a permit to work in Israel, suggesting he had no significant links to militants and likely carried out the shooting independently. Prime Minister Netanyahu vowed to respond to the incident by demolishing the assailant’s home, but did not threaten any wider action.
The Hamas-Fatah agreement (see above) is likely to anger those Palestinians who favour greater violence against Israel, as they will see Hamas’ agreement with Fatah, which co-operates with Tel Aviv on security issues, as evidence of the group softening its commitment to armed resistance. As a result, there may be an increase in attacks by individual hardliners in the coming few weeks, and especially over the ongoing Jewish holiday period, in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Nonetheless, most such incidents will be unsophisticated and limited to stabbings and car rammings. In addition, hardline Islamist militants in Gaza could attempt to fire rockets into Israel, in an attempt to increase their support at the expense of Hamas, by forcing the group to prevent such attacks and so be seen as defending Israel.