'Palestinian violence in West Bank has increased'

OC Central Command Alon tells Channel 2 that IDF has identified trends of escalation, but stops short of calling violence 3rd intifada.

Weapons confiscated in Hebron 370 (photo credit: IDF Spokesman’s Office)
Weapons confiscated in Hebron 370
(photo credit: IDF Spokesman’s Office)
Palestinian violence in the West Bank has increased, OC Central Command Maj.-Gen Nitzan Alon told Channel 2 in an interview that was aired Tuesday night.
He did not speak of a third intifada, but he said, “for months we have identified trends of a potential escalation.”
On Tuesday, the IDF stopped a Palestinian in the Jordan Valley who carried four improvised explosives.
Near Bethlehem, Palestinians threw stones at soldiers, lightly wounding one. They also threw stones at soldiers near Ramallah.
Separately, in a raid on a Palestinian home in Hebron, the IDF found a cache of weapons, including bullets and night vision equipment.
“Our forces are working day and night,” Alon told Channel 2. The IDF has arrested Palestinians who have harmed Israelis such as those who threw stones at cars on Route 5 earlier this month, he said.
But he added that still, “there are scores of intelligence reports of attempts to execute terror attacks. I am happy that we ended 2012 and the last few months without fatalities [from terror attacks] in the region of Judea and Samaria.”
The IDF, Alon said, has also taken steps to help diffuse the tense situation in the West Bank such as deporting to Gaza earlier this month the Palestinian prisoner Ayman Sharawneh who had been on a hunger strike.
Alon who signed the deportation order said, “on one hand we have to maintain our legitimacy, refrain from rash moves and make arrests when necessary.” On the other hand, he said, “we need to know how to dismantle land minds.”
The IDF, he said, seeks to find a balance between these two objectives.
On the subject of price tag attacks against Palestinians by Jewish extremists, which Alon has in the past called terrorism, Alon said that Israelis who seek to live in Judea and Samaria must see this activity as dangerous and unjust.
Price tag activities, he said, both harm those who are innocent and escalate exactly the type of Palestinian violence that the IDF is trying to prevent.
In the Channel 2 interview Alon dismissed past verbal attacks by settlers and right wing activists against his wife for her activities with the left wing group Machsom Watch.
“I didn’t take it personally,” Alon said and added that he felt the attacks subsided precisely because of his failure to respond.
“It was also less dramatic than it appeared to be in the media,” he said.
With regard to Syria, Alon said that Israel must maintain its right to defend itself.
In describing his work as the head of the Central Command, Alon said, that he was an emissary on a mission.