The IDF will be calling up reservists in order to bolster troop presence along the Seam Line and prevent Palestinians from illegally crossing into Israel from the West Bank.
The decision to recruit reserve battalions in the coming weeks follows a situational assessment approved by Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi.
Six reserve battalions will be called up in a number of rounds and will enable the military to deploy troops to the Central Command as well as activate the full operational competence and training of the IDF.
Some of the battalions will be assigned to the Central Command while others will replace units in the Northern and Southern Commands who have been redeployed to the center.
“The recruitment will enable the continued effort to prevent terrorists from crossing and the illegal passage in the seam area of Judea and Samaria,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.
Some 150,000 Palestinians enter Israel legally from the West Bank and, according to estimates, another 30,000 cross each day through holes in the West Bank fence. These are mostly men who have not received permits but want to work in Israel.
According to the military, subject to Kohavi’s decision and in light of operational needs, some of the reserve battalions will be summoned by an exceptional order. Nevertheless, the order is not immediate and notice of at least three weeks will be given.
The IDF has reinforced troop strength in the West Bank with 12 battalions for a total of 25 to bring the current wave of violence to an end. In the past six weeks, four deadly attacks have killed 14 Israelis.
The huge boost in troop strength allows the military to carry out offensive operations in the West Bank and deploy troops along the security fence in order to plug the holes through which Palestinians cross into Israel.
The IDF, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Israel Police have been focusing on the northern West Bank and the Palestinian cities of Jenin, Nablus, Hebron, Tulkarm and their surrounding villages.
The increase in troop deployment to the West Bank is expected to last until the end of the year.
At least two of the four fatal attacks were perpetrated by Palestinians who illegally crossed into Israel. The IDF has begun digging trenches to prevent vehicles from crossing, as well as adding defenses along the barrier.
“Our task is to close the seam zone in a way that will not allow illegal passage,” Kohavi said from the scene of the engineering work two weeks ago. “We will continue to operate in any place, with any method, and to the extent necessary to thwart terror,” he said.
“In recent days, we have significantly strengthened the area with forces and by means of engineering to improve the barrier’s infrastructure.”
In a separate effort, the Defense Ministry approved a NIS 300 million project to upgrade a 40 kilometer stretch of the barrier.
The nine-meter-high barrier, like the one on the Egyptian border, will consist of concrete, protective equipment and additional technological components. It will stretch from the Salem area in the northern West Bank to the Bat Hefer region.