Palestinian militancy stems from economic hardship: Israeli security chief

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-2-5 9:50:53

The uptick in Palestinian militant attacks against Israelis in the past year can be traced back to the economic grievances Palestinians are suffering from in the West Bank, chief of the Israel's Shin Bet security agency said on Tuesday.

Yoram Cohen, head of Shin Bet, made the comments during a meeting of committee of Foreign and Security Affairs in the Knesset (parliament), which was part of an annual review on main security topics on the agency's agenda.

The Channel 10 news reported that Cohen said that militant attacks which occurred in the past year in the West Bank by Palestinians were not part of established militant activity networks but rather individual and local militant activities.

As for the motivation behind the attacks, Cohen noted the dire economic conditions Palestinians are living under in the West Bank, adding the attacks were not deliberate, organized attempts to damage the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which started in July.

He added that there's "no financial horizon" in the West Bank and referred to the Palestinian Authority as a "corrupt" body.

In his annual review, the security chief said that there have been about 1,700 militant incidents including shooting, hurling Molotov cocktails and stones.

He also took notice of "price tag" attacks, acts of vandalism perpetrated mainly against Palestinians and their property, carried out by far right Israeli settler activists. Cohen said there have been 42 such incidents and they were also the result of local and individual acts.

In October, the World Bank released a report which charged that Israel's restrictions on movement in the West Bank were to blame for the Palestinian Authority's dire financial state and its reliance on foreign aid.

According to the report, the "regime of restrictions" Israel operates on its West Bank territories, which it annexed during the 1967 Mideast War and ruled and settled ever since, cost the Palestinian economy about $3.4 billion annually alone.

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