Jewish Terrorist Organizations
Several small Jewish groups had been linked with terrorist attacks
against Arabs in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. None of these
presented a significant security problem to the IDF as of 1988.
The best known of these organizations, the Gush Emunim Underground
(sometimes called the Jewish Terror Organization), was formed
in 1979 by prominent members of Gush Emunim, a group of religious
zealots who had used squatter tactics to carry on a campaign to
settle the West Bank after the October 1973 War. The underground
perceived the 1978 Camp David Accords and the 1979 Treaty of Peace
Between Egypt and Israel as betraying the Begin government's policy
of retaining the territories conquered by Israel.
The principal terrorist actions of the Gush Emunim Underground
were carried out between 1980 and 1984. In 1980 car bombings of
five West Bank Arab mayors resulted in crippling two of the mayors.
In 1983, the Hebron Islamic College was the target of a machinegun
and grenade attack that killed three Arab students and wounded
thirty-three others. In 1984 an attempt was made to place explosive
charges on five Arab buses in East Jerusalem. This plot was foiled
by agents of Israel's internal security force, Shin Bet, leading
to arrest and prison sentences for eighteen members of the underground.
The security services also uncovered a well-developed plan to
blow up the Dome of the Rock, one of Islam's most sacred shrines,
on Jerusalem's Temple Mount.
Another anti-Arab terrorist group, Terror Against Terror (known
as TNT) was established by Kach, the right-wing extremist political
movement of Rabbi Meir Kahane. TNT was responsible for numerous
beatings and bombings and several murders of Arabs, beginning
in 1975. Defending Shield (Egrof Magen), a Jewish vigilante group
of West Bank settlers formed in 1983, was responsible for a number
of attacks and vandalization of Arab property on the West Bank.
During the intifadah, beginning in late 1987, there were
many reports of Jewish vigilantism, including shootings, punitive
raids on refugee camps, and assaults on Arab motorists in retaliation
for rock-throwing attacks by Arab youths. Most of these appeared
to be spontaneous actions by settlers of individual communities.
Data as of December 1988