During a military exercise with the IDF’s elite Kfir Brigade last week at the Tze'elim base in Israel’s south, GOC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrahi warned soldiers of potential challenges they may face in the near future.
The Kfir brigade, created December 2005 to deal with unrest in Israel’s Judea and Samaria regions, trained extensively in urban warfare and simulated a scenario in which IDF soldiers were pitted against the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority’s new American-trained military.
Mizrahi told soldiers that the PA security forces, trained in Jordan by United States Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, is a formidable potential enemy and that the IDF needs to know how to fight them if the need should arise.
"This is a trained, equipped, American-educated force," Mizrahi said. "This means that at the beginning of a battle, we will pay a higher price. A force like that can shut down an urban area with four snipers… It is a proper infantry force facing us and we need to take that into account. They have attack capabilities and we do not expect them to give up easily."
Keith Dayton himself has expressed belief that his PA army would likely attack the Jewish state in the event that Israel does not give in to the demands of the Middle East Quartet, comprising America, Russia, the United Nations and European Union. At a May 2009 lecture in Washington, Dayton indicated that if Israel does not surrender Judea and Samaria to the PA within two years, the Fatah forces he and his fellow American officers are currently training could easily turn their guns on the Israelis.
"With big expectations, come big risks," Dayton said. "There is perhaps a two-year shelf life on being told that you're creating a state, when you're not."
Following these remarks, United States Defense Secretary Robert Gates extended Dayton's tour of duty for an additional two years and gave him the added responsibility of serving as deputy to President Barack Obama's Middle East Envoy George Mitchell. The United States has already poured over $300 million into the new PA army and the acknowledged prospect of that army attacking the State of Israel has not deterred Washington from continuing to arm, train and finance it.