Schalit with Hamas 311 R.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Motivation among Palestinian terrorist groups to abduct an IDF soldier or
Israeli civilian in the West Bank has increased since Israel conducted a
prisoner swap with Hamas for Gilad Schalit four months ago, Ephraim Brigade
commander Col. Ran Kahane said on Friday.
Last week, Kahane’s brigade
held an exercise aimed at preparing for a wide range of scenarios, including a
possible outbreak of violence similar to the eruption of the second intifada in
2000. The scenarios simulated by the brigade also included violent attacks by
Jews against local Palestinians.
“The motivation to kidnap a soldier or
civilian has always been high and now there might be more,” Kahane said. “The
enemy understands that this would be a major success and therefore has set it as
one of its objectives.”
In 2011, the IDF recorded 12 attempts to kidnap
soldiers or settlers in the West Bank, and believes that following the deal to
release Schalit in October and the release of some prisoners there, the threat
In December, several dozen settlers and right-wing activists
infiltrated the Efraim Brigade base
near Kedumim and hurled stones at several
Kahane said that he was on good terms with local settlers
despite the attack and that the violence was not characteristic of the majority
of Jewish West Bank residents. He added that the IDF made changes to the way it
operates in the area and the way it protects the base to prevent similar attacks
in the future.