The military's main objective since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his plan to freeze West Bank settlement expansion has been implementing that decision, and according to Shomron Brigade Commander Colonel Itzik Bar the task is far from easy.
"Dealing with enforcement requires maximum planning and attention. The sector isn’t all about fighting terror activity – we have other long-term assignments," he told Ynet Wednesday.
"This is the most complex sector in that respect. I have a very clear agenda… I say what I think and do what needs to be done. You can't please everyone."
Bar is pleased with the IDF's effort to keep soldiers away from missions requiring them to enforce halt construction orders. "This new mission does take center stage sometimes, but so far I haven’t seen any signs of trouble from the troops.
Clear agenda. Bar (Photo: Itay Cohen, "BaMahane")
"They seem to be mature enough to understand their place; but we are prepared for other developments."
The mission, added Bar, does affect tactical planning, but his top priority is still fighting terror: "The Statute of Limitations does not apply to someone dealing in terror. We will find them and deal with them."
Monday saw Bar's troops arrest senior Islamic Jihad operative Salah Muhammad Bukhari, who was wanted by the defense establishment for seven years.
Bukhari was wanted for his involvement in a 2002 suicide bombing in Tel Aviv: He drove two suicide bombers to the metropolitan's old bus depot in January of that year. One of the terrorists was arrested, but the other one was able to detonate his device, injuring 28 Israelis.
In 2003, Bukhari sent another suicide bomber into Israel, but his plan was thwarted. He was also involved in making explosive devices and car bombs.
Bukhari was one of the last operatives left on the Shin Bet's most wanted lists, who had direct involvement in terror attacks in the early 2000s.