A new report from the U.S. State Department praised Israel’s efforts to combat terrorism in the last calendar year.
The 2012 Counterterrorism Report states: “Israel continued to be a stalwart counterterrorism partner in 2012. It faced continued terrorist threats from Hamas, the Popular Resistance Committees, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), particularly from Gaza but also from the West Bank; and from Hizballah in Lebanon.”
The report noted the myriad threats to Israel both at home and abroad. “Gaza also remained a base of operations for several violent Islamist extremist splinter groups,” and “Israel faced a wave of plots and attacks against its interests abroad that Israeli officials linked to Iran and Hizballah,” said the report.
“A series of terrorist attacks and foiled plots against Israeli interests abroad that began in 2011 continued in 2012. Though most of these plots were disrupted, a July 18 suicide attack against Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria, killed five Israeli citizens and one Bulgarian and injured dozens, and a February 13 attack in New Delhi injured the wife of an Israeli Ministry of Defense employee,” the report continued.
The report also noted the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to combat terrorism in the West Bank, but was unimpressed with the PA’s criminal justice system.
“The Palestinian Authority (PA) continued its counterterrorism efforts in the West Bank. Hamas, PIJ, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) remained present in the West Bank, although the improved capacity of Palestinian Authority Security Forces (PASF) constrained those organizations’ ability to carry out attacks,” the report observed.
However it added, “Limitations on PA counterterrorism efforts in the West Bank included restrictions on the movement and activities of PASF in and through areas of the West Bank for which the Israeli government retained responsibility for security under the terms of Oslo-era agreements. The limited capacity of the PA’s civilian criminal justice system also hampered PA counterterrorism efforts.”
The report fingered Iran for being a state sponsor of terror, stating: “there was a clear resurgence of Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism, through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), its Ministry of Intelligence and Security, and Tehran’s ally Hizballah…”
Overall the report concluded that despite the ever-present threats in the region, “governments across the region improved their own counterterrorism capabilities, effectively disrupting the activities of a number of terrorists.”