West Bank security plunges out of Israel military control
On one day, Tuesday, Nov. 11, there were 30 Palestinian attacks on Israeli soldiers and border police officers on the West Bank, leaving four injured, including two policemen and an army platoon commander, debkafile‘s military sources report. The security situation plummeted from last month when, after men of the Lavi Brigade shot dead three Palestinian assailants who were hurling fire bombs, Israel units were prohibited from posting snipers to defend them against Palestinian firebomb ambuscades.
The prohibition came down from the office of prime minister Ehud Olmert and defense minister Ehud Barak. It was quickly picked up by the Palestinians who, realizing that the IDF’s hands were tied, became more audacious. By Tuesday, it had reached the point, said senior military sources, that the OC Central Command, Brig. Gadi Shamni, no longer controls security in Judea and Samaria. Marauding Palestinians have seized the hilltops commanding the territory’s main highways and intersections and bombard every passing Israeli car, including military and police vehicles, with firebombs, burning tires and big rocks. Shortage of manpower prevents the army from taking those hilltops over; its function has been reduced to patrols.
Tuesday, Palestinian terror peaked. They hurled firebombs and rocks at two border police bases in Abu Dis in southern Jerusalem and Atarot at the northern end of the capital and hit four IDF patrols. At Tekoa, southeast of Bethlehem, flying rocks pinned down a military force for hours until it was relieved by reinforcements. Rocks and bottle bombs hit at least 14 passing cars, seriously damaging some of them. Rioting Palestinians in Hebron and its vicinity hurled six firebombs, blocked main junctions with burning tires and set fire to a Jewish-owned wheat-field.
Security sources told debkafile that if this goes on and the government sticks to its policy of non-response, there is nothing to stop the Palestinian gangs from moving on to firearms.
The US-trained Palestinian security forces, whose presence Israel accepted, keep to the main towns of Nablus, Jenin, Hebron, Ramallah and Qalqilya and do not venture outside. Palestinian terrorists have therefore won the freedom to terrorize most parts of the West Bank safe from Palestinian or Israel interference.