The goal: For everyone to tour Judea and Samaria with confidence

Judea Samaria regional defense officer prepares for transition between Ramadan, summer vacation: 'Goal for everyone to travel everywhere.'

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Mordechai Sones,

Knowing the land of the Bible
Knowing the land of the Bible
Nati Shohat/Flash90

Arutz Sheva asked how IDF forces are deploying throughout Judea and Samaria during this month of Ramadan.

Lt. Col. Miki Siboni, the Regional Defense Officer of Judea and Samaria, spoke to us about this.
"We are witnessing a period in which the number of events in the sector has decreased significantly; stone throwing, incidents on the roads, etc., and we all feel it. Our deployment began long before Ramadan. This is a period with high explosive potential. In recent years there have been many terrorist incidents in the area, and we have done as every year and more this year to reinforce forces, to better protect the roads and the settlements and places where civilians hike."

Siboni adds that the timing of Ramadan "joins with educational institution's summer vacation, which will bring more hikers to the area."

In order to prepare for the explosive period of Ramadan, especially after a period of significant increase in the intensity and frequency of terror attacks on traffic routes, Siboni said, "We did a lot of activity, we learned every point and area, analyzed the motives of the people, there was a wave of arrests and reinforcement of forces on the ground. That does not necessarily mean that while on a trip one sees more IDF forces, but rather a variety of activities with many components, soldiers on the roads and soldiers hidden in the field with enhanced intelligence-gathering capabilities. We analyze events and find that our force's activities were effective, and there has been a decrease in both the intensity of events and their number.

"We are witness to the fact that in light of our force's activities, it is impossible to reach the roads without our forces arriving immediately, the demonstrations on the weekends have significantly decreased, thanks to some other moves that are not appropriate to be addressed in public. In preparation for Ramadan, the forces were reinforced by additional forces beyond the normal period.

"It's important for me to say mainly to residents who want to go out and hike around in the sector when the students go out on vacation - we allow, like every year or more, to travel everywhere in Judea and Samaria. Only be in coordination with the regional army coordinator, and anyone who does not know how should approach the security officer in his community.

"We expect trip planners not to plan at the last minute, but rather to take responsibility, not to rely on Waze, and make sure not to enter Area A while going down to the springs. More soldiers are in the places people usually travel. Therefore it is impossible to put a soldier at every spring and every tree, so before the trip, ask Regional Defense or the Security Officer before every trip, to make sure it's possible to go there and help us facilitate everyone both enjoying themselves and returning safely home."

Siboni adds: "As Regional Defense Commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, I receive dozens of requests and in only very few cases do we say no. We analyze every trip and see which defensive envelope needs to be provided for every trip. With this, there are live-fire army training areas, and there is Area A, there are places where it is dangerous to reach, and so on. I can say that there are dozens of trips every day; on weekends and Fridays it reaches the hundreds, and we provide an answer for all these trips."

Siboni agrees that the emotional influence of the terrorist prisoner's hunger strike during the days of Ramadan has virtually disappeared. "For the moment it flared up and faded again. There is nothing to remind one of that time. There were incidents like the one at Huwwara and others that we have learned from, and from the moment it was over we have not seen any other incidents in the sector."

Siboni was also asked whether during the Ramadan period it is possible to divide the hours of the day and to determine a need for certain security alertness at specific hours of the day. He says the answer is no. "The only thing we see is traffic jams on the roads in the morning and afternoon hours, and then a very significant drop in movement on the roads, and these days we can not say how many incidents there are, because we are all witnessing a significant decrease in these events."

And does the mere statement by a senior officer saying that the sector is becoming dramatically quiet, provoke the various organizations? "I say what is there and not what is not or what is going to be. My statements are to Israeli citizens who live here, so that they may continue to travel and live in an optimal manner and the level of security will strengthen. We are here for them. I am speaking to them. Whoever seeks to do harm, doesn't need me for that. He will find the motivation and the means and the time, and we are here to prevent and disrupt and foil them and to give Israeli citizens the best in security. We want the young people to hike around, to come to the spring and know the land of the Bible, but to do so in a way that will allow them security. This is the message of the Central Command, to allow everyone to travel here in the sector."



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