On May 17, the Israel Army conducted an exercise that called for troops
to rapidly capture a Palestinian city in the West Bank, Middle East Newsline reported. The scenario of the
one-day exercise envisioned that Palestinian Authority police units would
attack Israeli civilians and soldiers in the West Bank.
"As of now I don't foresee negative developments in the West Bank,"
Mizrahi said. "I believe we have a year until we have to reassess the
situation unless there is an event that causes escalation, for example at
the Temple Mount."
The exercise was conducted by the Kfir infantry brigade at the Army's
counter-insurgency center in Tzeelim in the Negev desert. Under the
scenario, Fatah and other militias had taken over a West Bank city and used
it as a launching pad for attacks on Israel. Later, PA forces joined the
"If such developments do occur we will be standing before organized
forces with individual cells taking part," Mizrahi said.
The exercise by three Kfir battalions was called the largest CI drill in
2010. Soldiers were directed to advance through alleys and homes of a mock
Palestinian urban center assembled at Tzeelim.
"We must prove that we can expand our abilities and allow commanders to
conduct missions in any arena," Kfir commander Col. Oren Avman said.
A key issue has been the prospect of insubordination by Israeli soldiers
in any operation that included Palestinian civilians. Officials said they do
not expect officers or soldiers to be deterred by the threat of prosecution
in any international court on charges of war crimes.
"We have had conferences and debates, and we know what we did and how we
must act," Mizrahi said.
Officials said the Army has also been examining the capabilities of PA
forces trained by the United States. U.S. security coordinator Lt. Gen.
Keith Dayton has overseen the training of at least five battalions of the PA
National Security Forces and Presidential Guard.
"This is a trained, equipped, American-educated force," Mizrahi said.
"This means that at the beginning of a battle, we'll pay a higher price. A
force like that can shut down an urban area with four snipers. They have
attack capabilities, and we don't expect them to give up so easily."