by: Yoav Zitun
Monday, 22 May 2017 | The IDF’s Judea and Samaria Division has marked the coming month of June as a period in which a new wave of terrorism and unrest in the West Bank [Judea–Samaria] could surface once again with reinvigorated energy.
The renewed fear stems from a combination of the Islamic holiday of Ramadan, which may begin at the end of the month (a final deadline has yet to be set), and the prisoners’ hunger strike.
Speaking in an interview, a senior IDF officer in the Judea and Samaria Division told Ynet that while the prisoners’ hunger strike has not yet “taken hold” and caused masses of Palestinians to take to the streets in protest, the trend may not continue indefinitely.
Additionally, recent events in Huwara and Silwad [two Palestinian villages in Judea–Samaria] —involving the deaths of Palestinians—risk making the coming summer months particularly troublesome.
In an effort to counter possible escalations, hundreds of soldiers are expected to reinforce regional brigades, with an emphasis being placed on known friction points, sensitive sites and Palestinian cities.
The reinforcements are expected to come from combat battalions currently involved in training exercises similar to those who reinforced regular IDF units during the last wave of terror.
The expected reinforcements do not stem from a concrete warning of attacks, but rather from an assessment of the situation and a history that portends turbulence and increased sensitivity during the Ramadan period. “We have to sharpen our senses, especially intelligence, during the coming period,” said the officer.
Actions taken against popular terrorism by the Judea and Samaria Division, along with the Shin Bet [Israeli internal security organization] and with the use of advanced technology to identify individual terrorists, have led to a significant reduction in terror attacks. However, the two incidents in which civilians shot Palestinians throwing stones are likely to cause the IDF and police headaches in a region where violence is commonplace.
The political echelon is talking about a package of concessions for the Palestinians ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit this week, whose results in Israel and the West Bank may very well influence the trends on the ground.
The army is constantly working to “deploy a raincloud to cool hot Palestinian areas,” as an officer in the Judea and Samaria Division puts it.
(Translated and edited by Fred Goldberg)
Posted on May 22, 2017
Photo Credit: Isranet
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