A large-scale IDF exercise in Judea and Samaria, the first in three years, is preparing soldiers in the Menashe Brigade for a possible "Arab Spring" rebellion. The brigade is based near Jenin, located in central Samaria between the Mediterranean Coast and the Jordan River.
“The drill tested main scenarios of a potential violent escalation in the region, including terrorist attacks on a local road, terrorists infiltrating a community and killing civilians, abduction of soldiers, numerous explosives set on a fence and more,” military spokesmen reported on the IDF Website.
Forces from the Israeli Security Agency (ISA), Israeli Police, Israeli emergency medical services Magen David Adom, regular and reserve units, and community security bodies participated in the drill. Special Forces units participated, as did the Border Police's elite undercover special operations unit, the Sky Riders unit, and IAF forces.
"It is difficult to estimate how many incidents might take place, but the bottom line is we will not be surprised," said Menashe Regional Brigade commander, Col. Ra'asan Alian. "We learned a lot and a sense of accomplishment is prevalent. We are ready for any scenario."
The massive exercise came as the Arab population is growing increasingly impatient with the Palestinian Authority, which is facing a financial and diplomatic crisis. While struggling to stay afloat in a sea of debt, it still remains focused on trying to win even limited recognition in the United Nations after having failed to live up to its vow to become a new independent Arab country.
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas also has failed to strike a unity deal with the rival Hamas terrorist organization, which rules Gaza and is rapidly building friendship with the new Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt.
"We examined the security of communities and the home front while preventing terror attacks against Israel, as well as taking on offensive moves to dismantle terror infrastructures," said Col. Alian said.
The brigade trained in combating and capturing terrorists, as well as paying special attention to humanitarian needs of the civilian population in the region, including both Israelis and Palestinians.
"Coordination Liaison (DCL) officers played a key role in the drill. We see the importance of caring for the population," stressed Col. Alian.
Last years' release by Israel of more than 1,000 Palestinian Authority terrorists and security prisoners raised the threat of terrorist activity, the IDF added.
“Many of these prisoners resumed their involvement in terrorist activity with their release. Several of these terrorists have been arrested, including operatives of the Islamic Jihad Movement,” the Website stated.
"After the Shalit deal, masses of terrorists returned to the Judea and Samaria region, and our activity continues based on situation assessments.”
Notably, the IDF report on the exercise did not mention any coordination with the Palestinian Authority security forces, which the United States has trumpeted as being an important reason for stability in Judea and Samaria.
However, most arrests of terrorists are carried out by the IDF and not by PA forces.