The IDF echelon believes that the operation will go on for a long time, because even if the abductors and abductees are found, the IDF is using the opportunity for wide-scale activities against terror. The Ramadan, which begins in 10 days, isn't considered a red line either.
A large number of Hamas members operating in South Mount Hebron were arrested in the past few days. Special IDF forces from the elite units of Sayeret Matkal, Yamam, 669 and others are operating in the region together with the Paratroopers Brigade which was sent to the area in the middle of training in the Golan Heights.
They are checking caves, wells, basements and tunnels between the villages in order to locate the kidnapped Israelis – a particularly complicated mission with the absence of accurate intelligence.
The defense establishment is still ruling out the possibility that the kidnapped teens were smuggled to Gaza or elsewhere. The offensive operation carried out in Nablus was not part of the investigation efforts, but an opportunity to damage terror infrastructures.
Nablus is not affiliated with Hamas but rather with Fatah, and the activity there did not result in any impressive achievements. A Nahal Brigade raid, backed by another regiment, yielded a small number of weapons: A few grenades and a lathe.
In the meantime, the Palestinian population is showing relative understanding towards the IDF's activity. The friction isn’t high, and the IDF is trying to avoid harming citizens and is focusing on its activity against Hamas.
Whoever imagined an operation similar to Defensive Shield will be proven false. There are not enough gunmen in the region to resist. The "lawnmower" method which worked in the past few years has left no targets, and so the IDF is settling for its regular forces without reservists.
While all this activity is going on, and on the background of the justified criticism against the police's performance which led to the loss of precious time after the abduction, we should start asking the Shin Bet some questions.
Senior defense establishment officials are competing in their superlatives for the attack's perpetrators. Time has gone by, the kidnapped teens have not been found, and as the days pass the fear for their life grows.
Many details from the investigation cannot be published. The fact that several days have passed and the cell has yet to be captured proves that this was a calculated, well-thought-out act.
But where was the Shin Bet, which failed to provide the required warning against such an incident? Where are the common slogans about the intelligence supremacy in Judea and Samaria?
When Gilad Shalit was kidnapped into Gaza, and Israel failed to find his exact location, defense establishment officials said such an incident could never happen in the West Bank, that Israel's technological means and intelligence abilities in the region would make such a situation impossible. It's time for this supremacy to reveal itself.