IDF Preparing for Potential New Palestinian Intifada if Annexation Goes Ahead
The IDF is readying itself for the possible outbreak of a new intifada if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes ahead with plans to annex parts of the West Bank in the near future.
Netanyahu has endorsed applying sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and Israeli settlements in the West Bank several times in recent months, and has pledged to bring the issue to a Knesset vote in July.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered the IDF on Monday to “step up preparations” in light of various scenarios that could play out in the Palestinian arena soon.
הנחיתי את הרמטכ”ל כוכבי, להאיץ את היערכות צה”ל לקראת הצעדים המדיניים העומדים על הפרק בזירה הפלסטינית, ועדכנתי אותו אודות ההתקדמות בזירה המדינית.
— בני גנץ – Benny Gantz (@gantzbe) June 1, 2020
The Israeli news site Walla reported on Monday that IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi had appointed a special team to plan for a possible major deterioration in the security situation in the West Bank, and had visited the Judea and Samaria Division to assess its readiness.
During his visit, he was presented with a detailed assessment of the situation and possible scenarios for containing an outbreak of violence.
The assessment sees an escalation as taking place in four stages: First, a rise in stone-throwing incidents. Second, outbreaks of violence in many locations, including car-ramming and stabbing attacks. Third, attacks by local terrorist cells carrying out shooting attacks. Fourth, highly-organized shooting attacks and suicide bombings, including within Israel itself.
The IDF, in cooperation with the Shin Bet security service and other agencies, will hold war games on Wednesday and may decide to deploy additional troops depending on the results.
The IDF has already observed a slow uptick in Palestinian violence since January, when Netanyahu began to speak much more emphatically about his plans to push forward with annexation. Stone-throwing incidents, for example, have risen 500%.
Walla reported that security officials believed there was confusion among Palestinians about the implications of annexation, which was being fed by statements from PA officials, including open incitement intended to compete with Hamas propaganda.
However, it was also believed that the Palestinians were aware of the fact that there would be a “price of defeat,” and an eruption of violence and terror would have major negative economic and social consequences for them.