Concern in the IDF Over the "Day After" Withdrawal

Southern District Commander Maj.-Gen. Dan Har'el has expressed great concern over what will happen after a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria.

, | updated: 11:13

A military source told Arutz-7 that Har'el predicts that security dangers to Israel from Arab forces in PA-controlled Gaza will increase after the Disengagement Plan is implemented. One indication of such, the Southern District commander explained, is the incessant weapons smuggling into Gaza and the Shomron.

Har'el says that the Arabs of the Palestinian Authority have stepped up their efforts to smuggle arms. In some of the cases, the army has succeeded in thwarting these efforts, but in others, the Arabs have smuggled in huge quantities of weapons.

The Southern District Commander feels that the barrages of Kassam rockets and mortar shells will not only continue after the unilateral withdrawal, but will extend deeper into Israel territory striking more Jewish towns.

In a meeting earlier this year between journalists and police officers in the southern region, one officer present divulged that the IDF Homefront Command would soon install the early warning missile detection system in Ashkelon, one of Israel's largest southern cities.

Lachish District Police Spokesperson Michal Chaim confirmed this report and went on to explain the concern regarding Ashkelon: "Naturally, the evacuation of the towns [on the northern tip of Gaza] will enable them to get closer to launch Kassam rockets. If indeed they wish to, the moment the area of Elei Sinai [in northern Gaza] is evacuated, they will close in on range to fire rockets deeper into Israel."

At the political level, as well, there is concern regarding the predicted increase in Arab attacks on Israeli towns if the Disengagement Plan is implemented. The Sharon administration cabinet last week gave 44 municipalities in proximity to the Gaza region "frontline status", entitling those towns to government benefits currently offered to Sderot as a result of the ongoing enemy shelling of the Negev city. The government has also allocated funds to reinforce roofs of public buildings in the region to enable them to withstand rocket attacks.

As of now, there has been an increase in recent weeks of over 300% in Gaza-based attacks aimed at civilian and military targets throughout Gaza and other parts of southern Israel.

Other problems for the IDF, especially in the Southern District, in the coming months include the evacuation itself and the expected strong resistance by Land of Israel supporters. The army is also not yet coordinated with the police department regarding this operation.