The West Bank Like You've Never Seen It Before
Plus, researchers unearth a thriving medieval Jewish community, what makes Israeli-made Merkava a great tank for Ukraine, and more!
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The discovery of history’s oldest reference to Israel
Death of the ‘New Jew’
What makes Israeli-made Merkava a great tank for Ukraine
Researchers unearth a thriving medieval Jewish community
Former IDF soldiers to become Holocaust educators abroad
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Just north of the West Bank, near a city named Nablus, a new chapter in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is being written: the War of the Hills.
It pits Jewish settlers, protected by the Israeli army, against young Palestinians from a new militant group, dubbed the Lion’s Den.
The group emerged in August 2022, a year of increased in shooting and stabbing attacks on Israeli civilians and soldiers, and takes its moniker from Ibrahim al-Nabulsi, a prominent militant from Nablus — nicknamed The Lion of Nablus — who killed in July during an Israeli raid.1
The small but influential Lions’ Den network has attracted young Palestinians disappointed by their leaders and disturbed by Israeli violence. They regularly shared videos of their attacks on TikTok, until their account was suspended in October 2022, prompting the group to publish via their Telegram account, which features more than 200,000 subscribers.2
In April, Lion’s Den announced the execution of a Palestinian for working with Israel, distributing a video of the deceased taken shortly before his death, in which he claimed the Shin Bet (Israel’s security service) used his sexual orientation to blackmail him into collaborating.3
For years, the Palestinian Authority, a semiautonomous body that administers West Bank cities like Nablus, has collaborated with Israel to minimize Palestinian militias.
But in cities like Nablus, the Palestinian Authority’s control is disintegrating, its popularity plummeting. There, Ottoman-era mosques, alleyways, and covered markets serve as a stronghold for young Palestinian militants who have become increasingly active over the last year, with more shooting attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians, and more shootouts during Israeli raids.
That sentiment explains why deadly violence in the West Bank has ballooned: In 2021, only one Israeli raid in the Nablus region led to a shootout with Palestinian militants. Last year, that number climbed to 33.4
It’s also why polling shows that both Palestinians and Israelis feel we’re on the cusp of an intifada (a Palestinian uprising) for the first time since 2005.5