Violence directed against Israelis has increased since October 2015. The almost daily attacks have reaped 34 lives and wounded hundreds more. Initially, stabbing was the preferred method of assault. Training videos were produced, for example, to exhibit the best methods for dispatching hapless Israelis waiting at bus stops. In 2015, most attacks were carried out with edged weapons: only 10 percent of the attacks involved firearms.
 
One reason for the recourse to knives may be the high cost of favored firearms among Palestinians seeking to kill Israelis. An M-16 can cost as much as $15,000. Even the AK-47, which is much favored by terrorists and anti-Western militants worldwide, is in short supply on the black market as is the standard-issue Israeli assault rifle, the Tavor.
 
Palestinian in the occupied territories are not allowed to possess weapons. Israeli security forces regularly conduct raids and seize weapons ranging from shotguns to out-of-date hunting rifles. Israel says that there is no evidence that Israeli military weapons are being diverted to Palestinians: which was common during the so-called second Intifada (2000-05). For its part, the U.S.-trained Palestinian security forces also keep a tight rein on their own arsenals.
 
Militants are resorting to home-made guns. Some are based on the Swedish design, known as the Carl Gustav or Carlo. Developed in the 1940s, the Carlo is a simple submachine gun that is being produced by gunmakers in garages and basements using car parts, bits of other weapons, and scrap. A Carlo costs a little as $500. In February, a Carlo was used to kill a female Israeli police officer. It had a barrel made from a water pipe.
 
The homemade Carlo made its first appearance around 2000.
 
Some observers in Israel suggest that coordination between Israeli and Palestinian security is working to keep groups such as the Tanzim (which is linke to Fatah) in check. But the rise of the Carlo may also mean better organization on the part of terrorists. Knife attacks were impulsive actions by individuals, in many cases. Palestinian marauders now act in pairs and are motivated by revenge


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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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