“We cannot go back to the situation that existed before seder night. If the security measures don’t work, we may have to carry out a deeper and broader operation,” said Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Shaul Mofaz yesterday.
Mofaz said that the scope of existing warnings has still not reached a level similar to that of before Operation Protective Wall, since the level of terrorism today is “five times less” compared to the situation that existed in Israel two months ago. However, he emphasized, the scope of attempted terror attacks is expected to increase, since the “nucleus that can restore the terrorist infrastructure [still exists], and we need to fight it as much as possible.” He said that there is now an accelerated process of rehabilitation of terrorist infrastructures in Bethlehem, Ramallah, Nablus, and Jenin, and that most of the IDF’s present operations are directed against it.
The IDF, Mofaz said, means to continue to operate in PA territory, mainly on the basis of intelligence information. “The operations are meant to prevent terror attacks and arrest terrorists, and we will act anywhere we deem appropriate.” At present, the operations are brief in duration, since longer operations do not obtain the desired results.
Yesterday, the IDF continued operating in PA territory, with infantry and Armored Corps operating in Tulkarm and Kalkilya. Last night, the IDF also planned to continue operating in several sectors at the same time.
Mofaz said that if there is an increase in the scope of terror attacks, the IDF might have to carry out a broader operation in the PA. However, at this stage there is no talk of a broad ground operation in the Gaza Strip, where “the IDF is taking a posture of aggressive defense, during which about 50 terrorists were hit and bombing attacks against communities and IDF outposts were stopped.” Mofaz said that at present there is no intention of calling up more reservists. That will be done “only if there is no other choice. A larger call-up will depend on the security situation.” [… ]
This article ran in Maariv on May 27th, 2002