IDF watches for signs of W. Bank uprising

Security officials say chances that a third intifada will erupt are still unlikely.

March 16, 2010 23:18
2 minute read.
Palestinian youths clash with IDF soldiers (unseen

palestinians idf hebron 311. (photo credit: AP)

The chances that a third intifada will erupt are unlikely as long as the Palestinian Authority does not give an official order to its security forces to engage in terrorist activity against Israel, security officials said on Tuesday as police clashed with rioters in east Jerusalem.

The Central Command has been holding daily operational assessments in an effort to foresee if the riots in Jerusalem will spread to the West Bank. On Tuesday, the IDF received an encouraging sign after the PA instructed its security forces to prevent violence in the West Bank and ensure that quiet prevails in Palestinian cities.

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The Central Command, officials said, was keeping a close eye on the territories to ensure that they do not erupt into violent demonstrations like those in the beginning of the second intifada in October 2000.

With the current military manpower stationed in the West Bank, the IDF is prepared to contain isolated demonstrations like the ones that erupted in February in Hebron following the government’s decision to list the Cave of the Patriarchs in the West Bank city as a heritage site.

The IDF, however, is concerned with two scenarios that could lead to an uprising in the West Bank – extreme violence in Jerusalem including several Palestinian deaths, or a potential Jewish terror attack against a Palestinian target in the West Bank.

Police Insp.-Gen. David Cohen said on Tuesday following a tour of the Old City in Jerusalem that a third intifada was unlikely to break out in the near future despite efforts by some organizations to incite Muslims to violence.

“There is a unique fabric of life here,” Cohen said, describing the Old City. “Quiet needs to be safeguarded, both from the Muslim and the Jewish sides in the area,” he added.

Police will continue to deploy across the capital in increased numbers until Friday, Cohen said, adding that by next week, normal routine should resume.  Speaking a few hours earlier at Ofakim during an annual sum-up of  the Southern district’s working year, Cohen said tensions surrounding the Temple Mount created “not only a national challenge but also an international challenge.”

“Our job is to keep a relative calm and to allow freedom of worship to all three religions,” Cohen said. “But there are signs of elements attempting to cause disturbances. We have made massive preparations and we will continue to remain on stand-by until Friday,” he added.  “The incitement we have seen from last Friday until today shows that our deployment was correct.”

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