Terror in the Hebron area would further challenge the IDF

Analysis: To secure settlers in the vast expanse of land would require large troop deployment and a mass call-up of reserves, delaying training and impacting readiness; Netanyahu knows he should bolster the PA

Yossi Yehushua|

The area of the Southern West Bank that includes the city of Hebron is a vast stretch of land that has until this week, been relatively calm while most terror attacks were carried out further north in the area of Jenin and Nablus. If Hebron, where the Hamas terror group has infrastructure in place, will join in the violence, security forces will face a more challenging time that will require the deployment of many more troops and a massive call-up of reserves.
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Monday's terror attack in a drive-by shooting that killed Batsheva Nigri and wounded Aryeh Gottlieb, copied the MO of other terror strikes was difficult to prevent and to later apprehend the assailants on the run. This makes protecting the roads a priority amid fears of further attacks by copycats.
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כוחות צה"ל  בכניסה לחברון
כוחות צה"ל  בכניסה לחברון
IDF soldiers at the entrance to Hebron
(Photo: Hazem Bader / AFP)
The military is faced with a perpetual dilemma, whether to impose restrictions that will harm the lives of innocent Palestinians, thereby prompting more to opt for terror or to continue a policy that differentiates between terrorists and civilians wishing to get on with their lives. Thus far there has been no decision by the government or the military to adopt a different path.
This year has proven itself to be the costliest in Jewish lives with 35 people murdered in attacks originating from the West Bank. The previous year had a total of 32 fatalities throughout its 12 months. Then Opposition leader Netanyahu viciously attacked the government at the time. Today he holds power and his opposition comes from within his coalition.
Both the previous government and Netanyahu's current one, accept the position of the IDF and the Shin Bet on the need to bolster the Palestinian Authority. Netanyahu simply refuses to admit as much, out loud. Without the security services in the PA thigs would be much worse and the need to allot troops to the area would further reduce the military's ability to maintain their training regime.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu laid blame on Iran, in a rare visit to the scene of the attack on Monday, since taking office. He is partially correct. But the origin of the current situation lies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Most terrorists in the recent wave, that began in March 2022, are not affiliated with any of the major terror organizations and do not have previous experience in such attacks and therefore cannot be considered soldiers in the service of an Iranian plot. The West Bank if full of illegal weapons, social media platforms are full of incitement and the streets are filled with youth that has lost all faith in the failing PA.
Without a solution, the future looks bleak. Providing security for more than half a million Jewish residents of the West Bank, who live among 3 million Palestinians, is a mission bordering on the impossible.
If the perpetrators of the murderous attack near Hebron, are revealed to be an organized terror cell, it would still not be typical of the latest wave, so the available options before the security forces are limited. Along with securing the roads, the IDF should opt for offensive actions to be taken at intervals across the entire West Bank while work to pave separate roads for settlers and Palestinians should be intensified. There are no other solutions.
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