Itongadol.- Two 14-year-old terrorists carried out an attack on Thursday afternoon at the Rami Levi supermarket in Sha\’ar Binyamin, near Ramallah, breaking the dubious record for the youngest Palestinians to commit a terror attack killing Israelis during the current escalation of violence.
The two terrorists, Omar Rimawi and Ihad Sabah, traveled from Beitunia, a neighborhood just north of Ramallah, armed with knives concealed under their clothing, to Sha\’ar Binyamin. They crossed two security checkpoints, one at the entrance to the Sha\’ar Binyamin industrial area and a second at the entrance to the Rami Levi supermarket, where Jews and Palestinians shop together daily.
An Israeli civilian shot and wounded Rimawi and Sabah, who were taken to a Jerusalem hospital where Sabah later succumbed to his wounds.
They join a list of other young Palestinians who have carried out attacks in the past five months. Ahmad Manasra, a 13-year-old from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, committed a stabbing attack with his 15-years-old cousin in the north Jerusalem neighborhood Pisgat Zeev. In addition, Muawiyyeh and Ali Alkam, teenagers from the Shuafat refugee camp, perpetrated an attack on the Jerusalem light rail.
According to Shin Bet data released last week, 22 terrorists in the current terror wave are below the age of 16 (10 percent); 81 terrorists are between the ages of 16-20 (37 percent); 74 terrorists are between the ages of 21-25 (34 percent); 17 terrorists are between the ages of 26-30 (8 percent); and 25 terrorists are above the age of 30 (11 percent).
The defense establishment is pointing to a number of factors motivating young Palestinians to carry out attacks, including incitement against Israel on social media and the desire to follow in the footsteps of family members and neighbors who carried out attacks themselves. However, the most important factor the defense establishment has identified is that the young generation was either not born or very young during the second intifada and does not understand its cost. Instead, it believes a violent uprising is the right path to resist the occupation.
The IDF noted that many young terrorists come from educated, middle-class families. Thus, it seems that that economic reasons are not necessarily the main reasons compelling one, with knowledge of slim chances of survival, to carry out an attack. Furthermore, in some incidents, businessowners in Palestinian villages and cities have made great efforts to stop the local youth from perpetrating attacks, fearing that the IDF could respond with collective punitive measures.
The IDF still has yet to decide whether to impose a closure on Beitunia as it did in Ramallah earlier this month after previous attacks in the West Bank.
Only two days ago, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot called for restraint in dealing with young terrorists carrying white arms. The chief of staff told to high school students in Bat Yam that he does not “want a soldier to empty magazines on a girl with scissors.” He also said that the IDF will not fall prey to slogans such as “If someone is coming to kill you, rise against him and kill him first.”
The two young terrorists carried out the attack on Thursday while most public Palestinian schools are on strike over a labor dispute. The strike started nearly a week ago and security foces are concerned that the bored students watching television and browsing the internet will be exposed to more incitement, encouraging future attacks against Israelis.