In a meeting with the heads of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, IDF Central Command head Nitzan Alon said that in recent weeks there had been a sharp drop in the number of rock and firebomb attacks in the area on Israeli drivers.
Alon's comments comes after what residents and officials said was a sharp rise in the number of attacks in the last few months, to the extent that some began terming the attacks the beginning of a third intidafa. Attacks hit a new high last November during Operation Pillar of Defense, and remained at high levels in the ensuing months. At one point, reports of over 200 incidents in a day were being received by the IDF.
Word of the unrest got out, and residents of communities in Judea and Samaria conducted numerous protests, with major media pieces in newspapers and on TV portraying the dangers. In these stories, IDF soldiers said that commanders had ordered them to treat Arab rioters with “a light touch” in order not to aggravate the situation.
Since then, orders in the field have changed, Alon told the heads of the Judea and Samaria Council, and IDF soldiers have been more aggressive in dealing with rioters. As a result, he said, anti-Israel activities by PA Arabs have fallen significantly. In March, for example, 79 firebomb incidents were reported, while in June that number had fallen to 29. Reports of rock throwing incidents had fallen during that same period by 70%, he said.
In an interview, a member of the Council said that there had indeed been an improvement in the security situation in Judea and Samaria, and he thanked the IDF for its efforts.