IDF soldiers in Hevron (file)
IDF soldiers in Hevron (file)Nati Shohat/Flash 90

The IDF is preparing for the possibility of a conflagration in Judea and Samaria, according to Israel Hayom. Central Command is carrying out training exercises and acquiring the needed equipment for dealing with the threat.

The reasons for the assessment that a violent confrontation is near include the tense atmosphere in diplomatic relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), the PA's complaint against Israel at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, and Israel's freezing of PA tax revenues in response, the report says.

"At this point, Abu Mazen has a vested interest in maitaining stability on the ground,” IDF officials told the paper, referring to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas by his kunya name. But as time goes by, they said, matters may deteriorate into violence.

The main cause for potential Arab anger, in the IDF's view, is Israel's freezing of PA tax revenues. Israel has thus far frozen about NIS 1.5 billion in the course of three months, in addition to another NIS 1 billion that were already frozen.

On the other hand, the number of work permits for PA Arabs who seek employment in Israel has been increased.

Israel has identified a rise in the coordination of terror activities in Judea and Samaria by elements in Gaza, and by Hamas's Saleh Aruri, who resides in Turkey. In addition, there is “an awakening” of Fatah-Tanzim activity, and Islamic Jihad has also increased its activity, especially in Samaria.

The IDF is preparing for different scenarios, including wide-scale rioting and “different kinds of violence,” Israel Hayom adds. The PA may direct the violence in a way that is designed to increase international opprobrium against Israel.