IDF Officials: Pinpoint Operations Don't Work With Restraint

IDF officials are not happy with Prime Minister Olmert’s new exclusive policy of “pinpoint operations" against Kassam launching cells. Some 27 security checkpoints in Yesha are set to be removed.

Hillel Fendel and Hana Levi Julian , | updated: 9:16 AM

A senior officer slammed the new anti-Kassam policy, which Olmert decided upon after two boys were seriously wounded in a Tuesday night rocket attack. The government resolved to continue the ceasefire with the terrorists, despite the increasing violations by terrorist rocket crews, but to take action against specific Kassam cells when they are detected.

Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yiftah Ron-Tal told Voice of Israel Radio Thursday morning, “Pinpoint operations are a step in the right direction, but really just partially so. Security forces must be allowed to control the area in a more effective manner."

He said the new policy would not even help reduce the number of rockets fired at western Negev communities, let alone end them.

Ron-Tal warned that it is extremely difficult to spot terrorists in the act of launching rockets, and almost impossible to attack them once they are identified.

The senior officer was discharged from the IDF in October, shortly before his official retirement, after criticizing IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz.

Removing Checkpoints, Despite Past Negative Experience
Another of Olmert's gestures towards Abu Mazen is also about to get underway. After a delay of a few days, a program to remove 27 military checkpoints in Judea and Samaria has been approved by the IDF. The amount of entry permits for PA Arabs into mainland Israel has also been increased.

"The proposed plan is likely to contribute to an improved atmosphere, to the strengthening of moderate forces and the distancing of the civilian population from the circle of terrorism," Prime Minister Olmert said. "This does not mean that we are backing off from our war with terrorism, which we will continue to fight with the same determination."

Terrorists have taken advantage of previous gestures in the past to travel freely and perpetrate attacks. Arutz-7's Kobi Finkler reports that just two weeks ago, after the removal of the east-of-Shechem Eyn Bidan checkpoint, a terrorist cell was caught after having passed through that very area with a large amount of explosives. Furthermore, nine months ago, after the same checkpoint was removed - only to be replaced later - a terrorist passed through the area, and later murdered four Jews when he dressed up as a religious Jew and got into a car as a hitchhiker.

Senior IDF officers have also criticized the government for turning down a proposal to allow forces to cross the Gaza border and create a security buffer zone.

“We have no other way but to control the northern Gaza Strip using [IDF] forces,” added Ron-Tal. “Not for a long time, but for a limited time… If our soldiers aren’t there, the terrorists will continue to fire from there.”

Two boys were severely injured on Tuesday night by a Kassam rocket attack on Sderot, one critically. Adir Moshe (ben Bruriah) Basad, who was listed in very critical condition, is no longer considered in immediate danger. He is still listed in serious condition in Barzilai Hospital in the southern coastal city of Ashkelon, where Kassam rockets hit a strategic target this week as well. His friend, Matan (ben Koren) Cohen, suffered moderate wounds - including the loss of four toes - and is being transferred to Shneider Children's Hospital in Petach Tikvah.

Released for publication:
On April 22 of this year a suicide bombing was thwarted because the Bethlehem terrorist who was supposed to supply the explosives was wounded and arrested in a clash with undercover Border Guard forces. The would-be killer himself was arrested in Halhoul, near Hevron. The next day, three wanted terrorists tried to escape an undercover Border Guard force in the region by shooting at their car, but they themselves were hit, and two were killed.

It has also now been publicized that two months ago, another attack was thwarted when the suicide terrorist was arrested by Israeli forces near the Jenin refugee camp.