Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon have been at loggerheads with Israel’s military and Shin Bet chiefs on how to grapple with the wave of Palestinian terror sweeping the country for more than two months, with knives, firebombs and vehicular attacks and rising Israeli casualties. The two ministers are convinced that the Palestinian terrorists will eventually succumb to attrition and throw in the sponge.
debkafile’s counter-terror experts challenge this premise. The current wave is not only not dying down it is gaining traction. Its methods are such that purely military measures can’t get to grips with the persistent attacks, which are often just hours apart in different locations.
In the last 24 hours, the terrorists have spread their wings from Hebron, last week’s hotbed, to places further north. If they are not stopped, they may well move across the Green Line into the coastal districts around Tel Aviv and the northern Afula Plain and Jezreel Valley. At that point, the Fatah’s armed wing, the Tanzim, is more than likely to join the action with firearms, instituting a full-fledged armed uprising against the Jewish State.
To pre-empt this escalation and freeze the current wave of attacks, Israel’s military and intelligence chiefs have put forward a 7-point plan of action:
- A general lockdown on Palestinian-populated areas of Judea, Samaria and Hebron for an indefinite period.
- This lockdown would extend to the Palestinian districts of East Jerusalem.
- Its borderline would run roughly along the defense barrier. Electronic tracking devices would be installed in the gaps with security personnel deployed according to need.
- The roadblocks thrown up on the side roads leading to Palestinian villages and towns along the main highways, like Route 60 in the Gush Etzion and Hebron districts, have proved ineffective. The Palestinians find ways of circumventing them.
- Blowing up the homes of Palestinian terrorist killers has proved disappointing as an effective deterrent to the spreading violence.
- Military and intelligence experts are of the opinion that the desired effect of a de-escalation will only be achieved by an ultimatum: Give up terrorism or be cut off from Israel, so losing your jobs and your major sources of income.
- Reservists will need to be mobilized on a large scale for this plan’s implememtation.
debkafile’s political sources report that Netanyahu and Ya’alon are not in favor of the plan, each for reasons of his own, but are leaving it open for consideration.
Netanyahu fears that a total lockdown on Palestinian areas will have a negative effect politically at home and internationally. He is also concerned that a shutdown of the Palestinian districts of Jerusalem will expose him to the charge of dividing the capital.
Ya’alon is apprehensive that the Palestinians will deem the lockdown an Israeli declaration of all-out war. An armed conflict would then erupt between the two peoples with full force.
The authors of the plan are convinced that, one way or another, Palestinian terrorism, if not stopped short, will in any case escalate to the point where the prime minister and defense minister are left with no option but to execute the measures they have proposed.