Israeli military officials and analysts are reporting an increase in Palestinian attacks against settlers and occupation forces in the West Bank, with some warning of a potential eruption on the horizon.
"With Israel's attention focused on the Gaza Strip over the past seven months," wrote the Jerusalem Post's security correspondent today, "a volcano of violence is at risk of erupting in the West Bank". At the very least, according to the Post, "the overall temperature in the West Bank is rising".
The paper noted that several months ago, the Israeli military's chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot "warned that there was a high probability of escalation in the West Bank". Last month, Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman "echoed Eisenkot's warning".
In Haaretz, meanwhile, a senior officer in the Israeli military's Central Command claimed that Hamas is redoubling its efforts to plan attacks in the occupied West Bank, with other Israeli officials telling the paper that "Palestinians' will" to carry out such actions "is on the rise".
"Senior officers said they are concerned over an increasingly successful trend of carrying out attacks and shifting activity from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank," stated Haaretz, particularly since the fatal stabbing in September of American-Israeli settler Ari Fuld.
Israeli defence officials "added that the Palestinian Authority and its security forces are trying to fight attempts by Hamas to heat up the West Bank," including by arresting Hamas activists.
The report also noted that in the case of "the most serious attack in recent months" – a shooting in Barkan settlement – the suspected perpetrator has evaded capture for some two months. An assailant "who manages to get away has a great effect on the grassroots", an Israeli officer said.