Israel analytics: Assassinating Kilani will strengthen Lions’ Den

Funeral ceremony held for Tamer al-Kilani in Nablus, West Bank on October 23, 2022 (Nedal Eshtayah - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  October 24, 2022

Israeli analysts indicated in the Israeli newspapers today that the Israeli Occupation’s assassination of the Lions’ Den activist, the martyr Tamer al-Kilani, in Nablus last Saturday night “does not change the rules of the game” and that it would “strengthen the organization.”

While the Israeli Occupation refrains from officially announcing the assassination of Al-Kilani, Yossi Yehoshua, a military analyst in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, believes Israel’s decision to cover up the assassination “does not indicate a high level of deterrence, but rather the opposite.”

He added that this blackout “greatly amplifies this small organization, for which Greater Israel does not bear responsibility and uses techniques to assassinate major saboteurs.” Yehoshua pointed out that “the main target of the Israeli security agency within the Lions’ Den now is the individual who killed the soldier in the Givati ​​Company, Ido Baruch. He has not been arrested, so far, and the account has not been closed.”

He added that carrying out the assassination “indicates the ability of an intelligence infiltration that makes the Lions’ Den organization lose a sense of security, in an effort to provoke a sense of persecution and creating difficulties for the organization to carry out operations.”

He added that “the method of liquidation is an escalation in the world of assassinations, and there is a benefit from it in reducing the dangers to the lives of soldiers. The organization threatens to seek revenge, and the Israeli army is deployed in Nablus, but the fear is that members of the Lions’ Den will establish similar cells in cities in the West Bank through social networks.” Meanwhile, despite the assassination, the task of rooting out the organization is not nearly done.

In turn, the military correspondent for Haaretz newspaper, Yaniv Kovovich, pointed out that the assassination of Al-Kilani “was an unusual operation because its implementation required the approval of the Israeli political level in advance.”

According to Kovovich, there is a dispute in the Israeli security apparatus about how to deal with this organization, and it was reported that Israeli security sources recently expressed “a fear of carrying out assassinations against the organization’s activists because, according to them, it would increase the organization’s strength in the West Bank and amplify the legacy of the activists after they are killed.”

This comes after parties in the right-wing in the Israeli opposition demanded the implementation of assassinations against Palestinian Resistance fighters through the use of drones, as is being carried out in the Gaza Strip.

In a related context, the Israeli security apparatus (i.e., the army and the Shin Bet) has been deliberating on the continuation of the siege imposed by the Occupation on Nablus, since 12th October. Kovovich indicated that the security apparatus fears that the continued closure of the exits will lead to frustration among the residents of the city and lead to confrontations with the soldiers in order to remove it.

He added that “The security services fear that such confrontations may spread to all parts of the West Bank and, therefore, they are working to help the Palestinian security services regain control of the city.”

He continued, “The security apparatus mentioned that it is possible that the Palestinian apparatus can only regain control of the city after targeting another number of activists in the organization, thus weakening the Lions’ Den.”