W. Bank: 3rd of IDF used against 'price-tag' attacks

Senior officer says move means less forces to prevent terrorism; Maj.- Gen. Mizrachi may come under 24-hour protection.

December 16, 2011 05:24
2 minute read.
Hilltop youth [illustrative]

Hilltop youth [illustrative] 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)


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The IDF Central Command has allocated 30 percent of its forces deployed in the West Bank for “price-tag” attack-related missions, the largest proportion in years, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The missions vary for the forces: Some are stationed along roads in the West Bank to prevent the stoning of Palestinian vehicles, and others are stationed on the outskirts of Palestinian villages, such as near the Yitzhar settlement, to prevent settler infiltrations.

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“This means we have fewer forces to prevent terrorism,” a senior officer said on Thursday. “When a battalion commander needs to come to a road and disperse Jews who are throwing stones at Palestinian cars, it means he is not able to carry out his main mission, which is to defend Israel.”

Since the attack against the Efraim Regional Brigade headquarters on Monday night, during which several dozen farright activists and settlers stormed the base and attacked soldiers, the IDF established a special rapid-response force whose job will be to protect bases and disperse crowds.

In addition, the Post has learned that due to concern about possible attacks from settlers, security authorities in the IDF have recommended that OC Central Command Maj.- Gen. Avi Mizrachi come under 24-hour protection by military security guards.

On Thursday, the words “Nazi” and “price tag” were found spray-painted on concrete blocks at the Tapuah Junction and next to an IDF position. In addition, a mosque in the Palestinian village of Burka was vandalized with the words “Mitzpe Yitzhar” and “war” just hours after security forces evacuated the illegal outpost near Yitzhar.

Senior IDF officers said Thursday that the military would be on high alert throughout the West Bank over the weekend to prevent clashes between settlers and Palestinians.

Known hotspots, such as the areas near Yitzhar, the Itamar settlement and other places, will see an increase in troops aimed at preventing violence.

In addition to tactical changes on the ground, the IDF is working with the Israel Police’s Judea and Samaria District to identify the source of funding for the so-called hilltop youth, who are believed to be the predominate force behind the pricetag attacks.

Following the spate of violence on Monday, which also included the crossing of the Jordanian-Israeli border fence, the IDF has begun implementing a number of measures to deter and prevent attacks.

Under consideration, for example, is a possible ban on suspected extremists from residing in the West Bank. Such orders are issued by Mizrachi, who is the supreme military commander in the territories.

Last week, Mizrachi extended four orders that had been issued over the summer for activists who were removed amid fears that clashes would break out with Palestinians over the PA’s unilateral statehood bid at the United Nations.

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