“The past year was the quietest in terms of terrorist attacks,” says a senior officer in Judea and Samaria Division.
“We fight against every rock. Each stone-throwing, every firebomb or security fence infiltration, is treated as if it were the most serious incident and the result can be seen in the field.”
A visit to the area of the Ephraim Brigade, which controls an area of 140 km of fence, reveals the most serious threat faced by the security forces in the past year – and more so in recent months – and that is the threat of fire from all weapon types.
“The ease of shooting has become significant recently,” says the officer. “There are many weapons in the hands of the various terrorist organizations. It is true that the greater part consist of improvised weapons which are less fatal and less accurate when shot from a distance. But a weapon is a weapon, and therefore we are working on all fronts. This involves an entire campaign that includes capturing metal lathes, manufacturers, money launderers, infrastructure, and basically any entity or person involved,” the officer said.
One of the coordination problems faced by the IDF is division of the various operational zones between the IDF and the Border Police (whose companies are bolstering its number of regular troops). It is not always clear who is responsible and there are quite a few areas where jurisdiction overlaps between both forces.
Just last week, a major division-level exercise was held involving fire and wounded in a vehicle traveling on one of the roads, and concurrently a terrorist infiltration into a community while carrying out a stabbing attack and fleeing, as recently happened in Efrat, “so we could train the forces and understand who actually handles each issue, including speed of response, reaching the wounded, and trying to figure out who stands behind the attacks,” the army says.
Another issue that the IDF deals with is the amount of human resources at its disposal. The workforce fell by a third whereas challenges have not decreased at all. “We need to practice brinkmanship when it comes to skill, inclusion, and intelligence. But the fact is that on the ground it works,” said the officer.