SOLDIERS FROM the Shahaf Battalion 370.
(photo credit: Yaakov Lappin)
The IDF has pulled soldiers out of frontline communities near the northern and
southern borders, a senior army source said Tuesday, after senior commanders
concluded that the arrangement was no longer necessary for security.
the past, the IDF’s Southern Command placed soldiers at the entrance to nine
towns and villages near the Gaza and Egypt borders, while the Northern Command
secured 13 frontier communities in this way.
Evaluations carried out at
IDF headquarters concluded that enhanced border security measures, such as
electronic sensors, patrols and lookout posts, combined with additional
components, meant that the practice of placing soldiers inside the communities
is no longer necessary.
“We know where the threats come from, what routes
threats could take, and we understand these measures are no longer needed,” the
source said. “The need to defend communities from the inside seems less
relevant,” he stated. Operational considerations rather than budgetary
constraints lay behind the move, he added.
In the West Bank, the Central
Command will continue placing soldiers in settlements for their protection
against terrorist attacks.
Haim Yalin, head of the Eshkol Regional
Council near the Gaza Strip, told The Jerusalem Post
that the decision is a
mistake that will harm the security of local residents.
oppose this,” he said. “There is no replacement for soldiers who defend places
like Kerem Hashalom and Nativ Ha’asara, and give residents a sense of security.
When people see soldiers with their uniforms and flak jackets guarding, they
Yalin said communities located within a kilometer of Gaza
especially required the additional protection.
“The minute there is an
infiltration by terrorists, people will go to the heads of local councils and
ask why we allowed the soldiers to leave. We live here and breathe the air; we
understand the threats. We know the threats posed by fog and the dangers posed
by farmers who work near the Gaza border,” Yalin said.
But Shlomo Vaknin,
in charge of security for the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria
said that 20 West Bank settlements would also be impacted by the new security
The IDF has notified these settlements that 17 soldiers
will be removed from their security details by October 1, and that anywhere from
23 to 33 soldiers will be taken off the details as of January 1, Vaknin
Soldiers will continue to guard the settlements, he said, but the
number in each settlement will now be reduced. He added that the move harms
smaller settlements that have less resources to make up the gap. Although the
settlements could sustain the cuts, Vaknin said, he was concerned by the
implications of the move, fearing they could lead to further
Council spokesman Yigal Delmonti noted that 33 soldiers had
already been cut from security details in settlements in Judea and Samaria a few
These communities are under threat of infiltration, Delmonti
said, and past experience has shown that such infiltration can have tragic
The area around settlements in Judea and Samaria is not secured
by the same physical and technological barriers as are border communities and,
as a result, they are more reliant on IDF security details, he said.
security source said that soldiers had been reallocated, not cut, based on a new
assessment of the security needs of each community.