GSS director Nadav Argaman appeared at the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and presented terror statistics for 2016.

GSS director Nadav Argaman appeared before the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee headed by Avi Dichter (Likud) himself a former GSS director.

Argaman referred to terrorism figures and stated that 2016 started with an escalation in terrorism with 132 attacks in January and 82 in February. During the course of 2016, 16 Israelis and one foreign citizen lost their lives in terror attacks while 149 citizens were injured. This represents a drop in casualties as compared with 2015 (20 killed and 188 injured).

Argaman maintained that this was due to deterrence and anti-terror tactics employed by Israel. However he added that despite the fact that most of the public realizes the lack of benefits from terror activity, there is still a “stream” of young activists who see it as a legitimate way of achieving change in the region.

The GSS director added that the rise in the level of threats from Judea and Samaria was a result of the continued lack of stability in the Palestinian Authority. He stated that due to the development of advanced capabilities the GSS was now more easily able to identify “lone attackers” before they acted and had succeeded in arresting about 400 lone attackers and potential attackers before they performed attacks.

During the course of 2016, the GSS thwarted 184 shooting attacks, 16 kidnappings and 16 suicide bombings.

The Hamas has stepped up its efforts to promote attacks in Israel and is looking for ways to perform mass terror attacks. These efforts have failed due to Israeli intervention. During the course of 2016, 1035 Hamas terrorists were arrested and 114 local cells were uncovered.

Argaman said that at present the Palestinian leadership is waiting for a clear policy from the Trump administration. On the political level Mahmoud Abbas has strengthened his position within Fatah.

With regard to the Gaza strip, Argamans said that since the Protective Edge campaign there has been unprecedented quiet with no Israeli casualties (for the first time in three decades). During the past year there were 44 attacks from the strip, similar to 2015, most of which were rocket strikes by the Salfi – Islamic Jihad terrorist organizations.

Argaman estimated that Hamas is not initiating another offensive due to lack of operational preparation for such an offensive and due to damage from Protective Edge but the organization is preparing steadfastly for another confrontation with Israel. However he stated that “Hamas is in a strategic dilemma and is finding it difficult to present political achievements or to provide effective solutions for the difficulties of citizens in the Gaza strip.”

Argaman referred to Jewish terrorist activity, stating that just 2 acts of Jewish terror were performed as compared with 16 in 2015, the worst of them the torching of the house in the village of Duma. The reason for the drop in attacks was the arrest of leaders of the Jewish terrorist infrastructure as well as strong steps taken by the security establishment to prevent the escalation of Palestinian terror which typified the beginning of 2016.