Israeli Military Surveys Terror Situation in Northern Israel, Guards against Ramadan Violence
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JERUSALEM, Israel – As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins, Israel is on heightened alert against the possibility of terror attacks. Add to that the current internal crisis in the country and it’s a recipe for trouble.
Ramadan comes as Israel has already carried out hundreds of counter-terrorism raids in the Palestinian Arab cities of Nablus (biblical Shechem) and Jenin in northern Israel over the last year.
“There are strong forces on various sides that are trying to escalate the situation and to bring about a real rupture in the fabric of life here,” said Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, former international spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
From a security position on Mt. Ebal overlooking Nablus in Samaria, Conricus told CBN News the situation is extremely tense.
“There's various Palestinian factions and organizations that are constantly, enhancing their amount of attacks and the terrorist activity that they do. There's a very weak and corrupt Palestinian Authority that isn't stopping that from happening,” said Conricus, currently with the Israel Defense and Security Forum (IDSF).
“There are external factors Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza and Iran that are trying to influence the situation in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem in order bring about violence,” Conricus said.
Conricus says stabilizing the situation on the ground can help prevent the violence that often happens during Ramadan.
“Historically speaking during Ramadan, Israeli security forces try to do the least necessary in order to maintain security and thwart terror and defend Israel, but without enhancing operations in such a way that could be interpreted or used by Palestinians as an excuse to start attacks,” he explained.
Jenin Governor Akram Rajoub blames Israel for trouble in his city.
“Regardless of what the Israelis are promoting that there are gunmen and organizations, the citizen in Jenin is being killed in front of his house and on his street, and he is not being killed anywhere else,” Rajoub told journalists on a tour organized by Media Central.
Rajoub said that although Israel has more firepower than his people, they still have the right to defend themselves.
“This is the reality of Jenin. Regardless of what the Israeli media and security promote, our people live under occupation, and they have the right to resist the occupation in all its forms. The lands of ‘67 are the lands of the occupied Palestinian state,” Rajoub said.
Israel has controlled biblical Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank, since the end of the 1967 Six-Day War. Palestinians still claim the area as their own.
Israeli Brig. General (Res.) Amir Avivi, Founder of the IDSF, counters that Jewish communities or settlements in the West Bank help stabilize the area.
“Now, if you take the Jewish communities, Israeli Defense Forces lose control. If the IDF loses control, the Palestinian Authority loses control,” Avivi explained.
As part of the 2005 Disengagement, Israel removed four Jewish communities from the northern West Bank.
“Once we took the northern towns out, the situation completely deteriorated here, and not only for Israel but also for the Palestinian Authorities. They lost control,” he said.
Conricus says Israel’s immediate strategy is to stop terrorism before it happens.
“Israel does it by using very specific and real-time intelligence generated by security organizations and goes and tries to apprehend terrorists in their beds or in their homes or their hideouts before they're able to do attacks,” Conricus explained.
All the time, the Israeli forces are “trying to distinguish between civilians and those who are up to no good violent activity, terrorists, et cetera and trying to allow Palestinian civilians to go on with their lives as much as possible,” he said.
Conricus says it’s clear that had the army not stepped up its combat pace, there would have been an exponential increase in terror attacks against Israelis.
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