Israel’s Military Intelligence Division — Aman — has expanded the number of sites that the army could target in the Gaza Strip by 400 per cent since the beginning of the term in the office of Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, Haaretz reported on Wednesday. However, senior intelligence officers have described most of the targets to be “low quality”.
According to the newspaper, the Israeli army has been seeking to expand what it describes as the “bank of targets” in the Gaza Strip since its military offensive against the enclave a year ago. This has been in preparation for a possible new attack.
Security officials in Aman believe that the targets are of less importance than what they had wanted, as a result of rounds of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian resistance factions in the Gaza Strip over the past two years, during which Israel bombed hundreds of Hamas sites. The officials described the inability to collect a high profile bank of targets as “very problematic”.
At the moment, Israel believes that Hamas is not interested in any escalation in Gaza, but is concentrating its energies on activities in the occupied West Bank. The movement “has achieved relatively limited success in this direction,” claims the army, which continues to mobilise troops in the area.
In a related issue, Israeli security officials have concluded that the perpetrators of the recent attacks in Israel operated as lone wolves, without receiving directions from Palestinian factions. Intelligence assessments say that the attacks were triggered by the tensions over Al-Aqsa Mosque and that many of the perpetrators “seek to avenge the death of a relative or have personal issues”.
The Israeli army claims that “Palestinian youth tend to identify with religious narratives more than national narratives.”
Since the end of March, the army has launched a campaign in the occupied West Bank dubbed “break the waves”. It has included a massive arrest campaign, targeting about 350 Palestinians suspected of “involvement in terrorism and incitement” activities. Almost 900 Palestinians have been arrested by Israel since the beginning of the year.