Patterns of Global Terrorism 1997 - Israel and the Occupied Territories/Palestinian Autonomous Areas

Israel continued in 1997 to face terrorist attacks by Palestinian groups opposed to the peace process. HAMAS launched three deadly suicide bombings over the year: a 21 March bombing in a Tel Aviv cafe, killing three Israelis and wounding 48; a 30 July dual suicide bombing in a crowded Jerusalem market, which killed 16 – including one US citizen – and wounded 178; and a 4 September triple suicide bombing at a popular Jerusalem pedestrian mall, which killed four Israelis and one US citizen, and wounded nearly 200. For its part, Israel imposed strict closures in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, carried out wide-scale arrests, and on 25 September launched a failed attempt to assassinate HAMAS official Khalid Mishal in Jordan. The Israeli agents were captured by Jordanian security officials and returned to Israel after the Israeli Government released HAMAS founder Shaykh Yassin and others from prison.

Numerous other serious but less spectacular attacks against Israel and its citizens also occurred, including the 20 November murder of an Israeli student in Jerusalem's Old City carried out by unknown assailants. In addition, Israeli border forces stopped several attempted terrorist infiltrations from Lebanon and Jordan, including a 4 March border crossing attempt from Lebanon in which two Israeli soldiers were killed.

Palestinians also suffered from terrorist attacks by Israelis during the year, including a 1 January incident in Hebron where an off-duty Israeli soldier fired into a crowded market, wounding seven persons.

The PA, which is responsible for security in Gaza and most major West Bank cities, continued to act against Palestinian perpetrators of violence against Israel in 1997. The PA's security apparatus preempted several anti-Israeli attacks over the year, including several planned suicide bombings, and detained hundreds of individuals for their alleged roles in terrorist operations. In July, for instance, the PA uncovered a HAMAS West Bank safehouse where the group was preparing bombs for attacks and arrested several HAMAS members affiliated with the site. The PA also closed down 17 HAMAS social and charitable institutions that were alleged to have channeled money to the group's terrorist wing.

At the same time, more effort is needed by the PA to enhance its bilateral cooperation with Israel and its unilateral fight against terrorism.


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