Israeli Army Prepares for ‘War Scenario’ in West Bank over Annexation
Even though the Israeli military command has complained that details of the West Bank annexation plan have been kept from it, it has decided to stage “war scenario” drills aimed at tackling the expected Palestinian fallout from the controversial move.
A wave of Palestinian protests is expected, especially in the West Bank, whose territories will be targeted in the annexation.
The drill will take place on Monday with the participation of the military and intelligence as they envisage masse Palestinian protests and rallies. They will also be aimed at preparing themselves against possible violent attacks, such stabbings or shootings, against Israeli settlers and soldiers in occupied regions.
Military sources said the Palestinian leaderships are preparing a strong response to the annexation.
A senior Israeli officer said the Palestinian Authority has been exerting strenuous efforts on the political front and is seeking to develop relations with Russia and France.
It is also aiming to garner backing from Germany, which has been vocal in rejecting the annexation.
He noted, however, that the PA has not been preparing any form of violent retaliation.
The problem lies in the Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups, which are not controlled by the PA, he said.
Lone individuals may also carry out attacks that may evolve into civil disobedience, which could pave the way for a third intifada that would distract the Israeli military from greater concerns on the northern fronts with Syria and Lebanon, he added.
Israel captured the West Bank, along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, in a 1967 war. Palestinians hope to establish a state in those areas and say the peace blueprint announced by President Donald Trump in January kills that prospect.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to extend sovereignty to Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank in line with the peace proposal.
Netanyahu’s new government is due to begin discussing the de facto annexation on July 1, but it is unclear whether Israel’s main ally, the United States, would greenlight the step.
His annexation pledges have raised stiff opposition from the Palestinians, Arab countries and European nations.