Officials in IDF (Zahal)’s Central Command discussed the current security situation and preparedness for possible future escalation

Date: 25/10/2010, 12:45 PM     Author: Dan Tamir, Bamahane Magazine

IDF (Zahal)’s Central Command has noted an increase in kidnapping attempts in the past year. “Last year we counted five unsuccessful attempted kidnappings, but this year there has been an increase in these incidents. Kidnapping is one of the main goals of the terrorist organizations,” Central Command’s Intelligence Officer Col. Ronen said during a command-wide training session entitled “From Consistent Security to Escalation in Violence”, which was held last week in the command’s training base in Lachish.

“The most extreme situation that we can envision in the Command is that the Palestinian Authority will decide to turn its weapons against us. This is a possible scenario, but we do not believe it will happen in actuality,” GOC Central Command, Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrachi said. The Commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, Brig. Gen. Nitzan Alon, emphasized to participants that they must be prepared for a situation whereby the Palestinian Authority would turn itself into an enemy and would no longer operate to overcome terrorism as it currently does.
During the session, the participants heard lectures and saw weapons exhibits and operational displays, during which fighters from the Nachshon Battalion participated. The fighters simulated a battle against Palestinian police officers who had aimed their weapons at IDF (Zahal) soldiers.

“The current operational situation in the Judea and Samaria region is one where there is control over the level of attacks. There is a suppression of Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority and the State of Israel share a mutual interest in ensuring that terrorism will not come out of the Judea and Samaria region, nor will it be inside the Judea and Samaria region,” Maj. Gen. Mizrachi said. “Today the security coordination enables us to thwart terrorism, and that is what we need.”

In the meantime, officials in the Central Command are closely observing the relations between terror agents in the Judea and Samaria region and those operating in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip. These influences emphasize among other phenomena an increase in the scope of intelligence among terrorist groups. Based on data from last year, the Central Command has reported a decline in violent protests. The largest number of recorded incidents of Molotov cocktails are rocks hurled occurred in the Etziyon sector. In contrast, the Judea Brigade and the Binyamin Brigade dealt with the largest number of shooting incidents this year.

Maj. Gen. Mizrachi added that without infrastructure created by the IDF (Zahal) in past years, Palestinian leaders would not be able to operate to defeat terrorism. “The Palestinian leaders fear a Hamas takeover of the Judea and Samaria region more than they fear us,” he said. “It is important to remember that even after the next clash, both sides will remain here. None of us will go off to Switzerland. That is a fact that affects operational missions in the sector.”