Israel considering major anti-terror operation in Judea and Samaria – report

The rate of Palestinian attacks is alarming: “It’s a miracle that we’re not attending funerals every day,” said one resident.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel is considering whether to initiate a sweeping anti-terror operation in Judea and Samaria due to the increasing rate of terror attacks in Samaria, Israel Hayom reported exclusively Thursday.

There is no agreement as yet on the matter, with the Shin Bet (Shabak) reportedly in favor of the policy change and the Defense Ministry and chief of staff as yet undecided.

Those backing the idea say that the ever-growing incitement in Palestinian areas to attack Jews could lead to a much greater number of deaths via terror attacks than a military operation.

The report added that the security apparatus is also weighing the possibility of increasing pre-emptive arrest operations of known terrorists and boosting the number of raids methodically, one quadrant at a time. Another idea is to help the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) security forces do their job.

The PA is believed to have lost control of wide swathes of their territory, especially in the cities of Nablus (Shechem) and Jenin. Its forces largely disappear during IDF raids, angering many Palestinians, and its officials appear helpless against the tide of rising support for Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s extremist rhetoric, both against Israel and the government in Ramallah.

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According to the report, the IDF had been preparing to launch such a large-scale operation early last year after a similar rise in terror attacks, but stopped when elections were called and a new government installed. The plans have reportedly now been pulled out of the drawer for another look.

Residents and officials of Judea and Samaria have been calling for months for serious action to restore Israeli deterrence in the region. While the media only publicize the relatively few attacks in which people are injured or killed, they feel in constant danger, especially on the roads.

“A sense of security? There’s no sense of security,” Dassi Hershler of the Samarian town of Nofim told Ynet Thursday. “We rely on the army, which is doing its job faithfully, but at least once a day there’s a moment of panic. Maybe they’ll throw a rock at me? Maybe the person who stopped at a light in front of me will pull out a gun?”

Yitzhar resident Tuvya Ariel charged that the government has deserted its citizens under a “wave of terror.”

“The terrorists roam the highways unhindered and it’s only because of one miracle after another that we’re not attending funerals every day. The government has to wake up before it’s too late,” he said.

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Nati Rom of Esh Kodesh described how one night he saw an object on the road and swerved around it, but that the car behind him ran over it and it exploded. “That’s just a drop in the ocean” of what is occurring, he maintained.

“It wasn’t like this in the past, certainly not this often. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense are not keeping their promises” regarding security, he said.

At a demonstration Tuesday by residents of Avnei Hefetz, where a shooting attack took place that morning, Samarian Regional Council head Yossi Dagan addressed the government, saying, “We elected you, come to your senses already. The entire nation of Israel expects you to close the checkpoints immediately.

“We said blood would be spilled here when they opened the checkpoints, the writing was on the wall. We will never agree to be ducks on a shooting range and never accept that Jewish lives will be abandoned here.”

Dagan had challenged the coalition in February to “to uproot all sources of terrorism, and collect all weapons in Judea and Samaria.”