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The lone wolf has become the most dangerous threat to Israel’s occupation

February 1, 2023 at 10:28 am

Palestinian resistance groups attend the funeral of 15 year old Jana Zakarneh killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Jenin [Issam Rimawi – Anadolu Agency]

What will the occupation state of Israel, with all its strength and might, do when facing a lone wolf Palestinian resistance fighter? When a lone wolf decides to attack on the spur of the moment? Israel can’t obtain advance intelligence about such an attack, or impose preventive measures. In short, it is powerless to stop this kind of resistance operations.

The motivation of an individual Palestinian to carry out a defensive operation or an instinctive and natural response to Israel’s many and varied crimes stems first from the criminal and heinous practices of the occupation against the Palestinian people, their land and their sanctities. The operation by the brave martyr Khairy Alqam was a distinctive example of such a phenomenon. Even more distinctive was the operation by the brave child Muhammad Aliwat, who was turned into a resistance fighter by the occupation before his time.

Such resistance is based on the individual’s ability to access information on social media and advanced communications, which expose the daily ugliness of Israel’s crimes, no matter how hard the occupation authorities try to cover them up or disguise them. He will have heard, seen or even taken part in general Palestinian discussions that support and call for legitimate resistance so that Israel’s crimes do not pass without appropriate responses.

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What can Israel do in such cases? These individuals are able to neutralise Israel’s major preventative capabilities, so what can the occupation forces do in terms of confrontation or even punishment, with no clear or institutional enemy to focus on? This is very different to when factions such as Hamas or Islamic Jihad are behind resistance attacks. Israel can’t put the Alqam family, for example, on the terrorist list, or bomb their sites in Gaza. It can, and does, though, use collective punishment against the attackers’ families, and this is a war crime.

Social media sites are accused of facilitating “incitement” for exposing the realities of the occupation which bypasses Israeli censorship. Far-right extremists such as Itamar Ben-Gvir want to introduce the death penalty for Palestinians. Others suggest finding easy targets to hit so that the public get the sense of revenge that is demanded. Revenge, not justice. They could be prisoners in Israeli jails, many of whom have already been assaulted in raids in the Negev, Megiddo and Ofer Prisons on the pretext that they celebrated retaliatory attacks by Palestinians against the occupation security forces.

Surprise is one of the most important weapons that the lone wolf Palestinian possesses. The occupation had no advance information about the intentions of Khairy Alqam and Muhammad Aliwat in Jerusalem. Individual resistance fighters need no “incitement”; what they see of the occupation on a daily basis is enough motivation to sacrifice everything they have, so they cannot be deterred before or during the attack. The current measures being imposed by Israel are nothing but a means to throw dust in the eyes and divert attention from the real reason for the operations, which is obvious to all but those who refuse to see it: Israel’s settler-colonial occupation of Palestine.

Lone wolf Palestinian operations are expected to continue in response to the ongoing attacks by illegal Jewish settlers. Some might say that the cycle of attacks and reprisals are Palestinian attacks and Israeli responses, but that ignores the reality of the occupation. What came first, the occupation or the resistance? End the occupation; no resistance. Furthermore, with the forced absence of large organisations such as Hamas in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem because of persecution by Israel and the Palestinian Authority security services, as well as the international community led by the US, there is no disciplined movement to control the lone wolves. This is why they have become the most dangerous threat to Israel and its brutal military occupation.

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The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.