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Friday, April 29, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Israel braces for 'large-scale' unrest in West Bank following Hamas-Fatah agreement

JERUSALEM — Israel is preparing for widespread Palestinian unrest.


Officials said the ruling Fatah movement was expected to foment unrest throughout the West Bank and particularly in the Jerusalem area. They said Fatah wanted to organize riots and attacks on Israelis in wake of the movement's initial agreement with Hamas.

"We're looking at the most severe scenario," Israeli police chief Inspector-General David Cohen said.

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In a briefing on April 28, Cohen, who commands a force of 27,000, said authorities expected the Palestinian violence to intensify within days, Middle East Newsline reported. He said police and security forces were intensifying deployment and intelligence to respond to unrest.

"We are preparing for the whole of the month of May," Cohen said. "We are conducting a repeat inspection of all of the headquarters. The scenario includes large-scale disruptions of order."

Officials said Palestinian unrest was expected to escalate through an expected United Nations vote on Palestinian statehood in September 2011. They said Israel's military and security forces have agreed to increase coordination to help quell riots and attacks.

"We need another 5,000 officers," Cohen, who leaves his post in May, said. "We'd like to recruit 1,000 officers a year, and be able to meet the challenges of maintaining public order and crime fighting."

Military sources said they shared the assessment of rising Palestinian unrest. They said a leading question was whether the Fatah-Hamas agreement would hamper Israel-PA security cooperation in the West Bank.

"Will a [PA] government with Hamas actually promote security cooperation with Israel?" a military source asked.

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