The IDF is gearing up for any eventuality as intelligence indicates the possibility of Palestinian violence breaking out in the coming months.
The IDF launched a large-scale training exercise in Judea and Samaria on Sunday with the intention of testing and assuring its preparedness for the possibility of an outbreak of Palestinian violence in the coming months.
IDF forces are being drilled in a wide array of scenarios, including mass violent demonstrations, different types of terror attacks, the abduction of a civilian or soldier by Palestinian terrorists and an infiltration of Palestinian terrorists into an Israeli community.
Two live-fire, battalion-sized drills will take place during the exercise, which is the largest to be conducted in the past three years.
The drill, which is personally observed and directed by newly appointed Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, is scheduled to conclude on Tuesday.
A small contingency of IDF reserve soldiers were also called up to participate in the exercise and to test the emergency call-up procedures.
An IDF official told Israel’s IDF Radio that the army has been preparing for the past several months for an eventual Palestinian assault, but he stressed that this does not indicate that the IDF is on heightened alert.
The results of the upcoming elections in Israel, together with the deteriorating economic situation in the territories under the administration of the Palestinian Authority (PA), as well as the freezing of PA assets by Israel, could reignite the region, according to intelligence assessments. These estimates indicate that these events may lead to a culmination in April, which could occur with the total collapse of the PA.
The drill began the same day that Palestinians said they would consider dissolving security cooperation due to Israel’s recent suspension of tax revenue transfers.
The Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) 110-member decision-making body is scheduled to meet later this week in order to weigh proposals to suspend a decade of security cooperation with Israel in Judea and Samaria, Palestinian officials said. “Decisions will be taken regarding all forms of relations with Israel,” Mahmoud Al-Aloul, a senior official of PA head Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement, told reporters.
“The PA will continue with its confrontational course against Israel and has already begun to so do,” a security source stated in February. “We are not passing over the money, and they may be planning internal financial moves, or a donor may emerge suddenly. It is very dynamic, but Abu-Mazen’s [Abbas] behavior is very confrontational. The question if he will go all the way remains unanswered.”
In the meantime, IDF officers in the region report a definite change in atmosphere and the possibility of an upheaval. Hatred and disdain towards Israel are clear and present, and any small incident could kindle the explosive flames, the officers warn.
By: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel
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