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Friday, September 23, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Israeli forces identify West Bank flashpoints
for potential violence

WASHINGTON — The Israel Army has identified flashpoints in the West Bank vulnerable to Palestinian violence, a report said.


The Washington Institute for Near East Policy said the Army has designated fewer than 10 locations that could explode in violence amid Palestinian Authority-sponsored rallies in the West Bank. The institute said the Army assessed that Palestinians would try to reach and even attack Jewish communities.

"Israeli forces have already highlighted a few of the most likely trouble spots," the institute said in a report, titled "The IDF And PA Prepare for Disturbances," said.

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The report, authored by Mark Doing and Jeffrey White, cited such potential flashpoints as the Kalandia refugee camp in northern Jerusalem. Kalandia contains an Army checkpoint meant to stop unauthorized Palestinians from entering Jerusalem.

Other flashpoints included Hebron, Jewish communities south of Bethlehem and Hebron. The northern edge of Bethlehem contains Rachel's Tomb, a site holy to Jews.

"If demonstrations take place deep within PA-controlled areas and away from Israeli settlers and security forces, there is less likelihood of serious problems," the report said.

Doing and White envisioned mass demonstrations as well as marches toward army checkpoints. Another scenario was Palestinian infiltration of Jewish communities as well as firebombs and stone-throwing.

The Army has sought to work with the PA to prevent Palestinian violence. The Army has developed plans to protect Jewish communities and train their residents while increasing troop presence in the West Bank.

The PA has authorized protest areas, most of them around Palestinian cities in the West Bank. The report said Israel has for the first time permitted PA security units to operate around Rachel's Tomb and Kalandia.

"These [PA] forces have permission to disperse anyone who attempts violent actions," the report said. "Most observers predict that Palestinian security personnel will comply with these orders to prevent escalation, at least initially. How they will respond if violence intensifies is less certain, however."

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