Ever since the outbreak of the current wave of terror, and despite Israel’s insistence that this is not an intifada but a transient wave, the defense establishment has been trying to analyze what motivates young people to set out every day to carry out attacks in Israel. It strives to profile the rank-and-file terrorist and map out the areas that are considered to be the centers of the popular uprising. Analyzing the characteristics of this wave of terror, which has been taking place without the umbrella of the Palestinian organizations and even as an act of defiance against them, military intelligence and Shin Bet research departments are expected to provide top military brass and senior Shin Bet officials with general guidelines as to how to curb this wave of assailants.
Unlike the second intifada (2000-2005), the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) this time do not have clear targets that can be labeled as centers for planning and executing attacks. Consequently, all the combative terms — strike, destroy, deter, thwart — become useless. Because there are no wanted terrorists and there is no terrorist infrastructure that can be specifically designated, the IDF has no choice but to resort to a defensive strategy.