by Yoav Limor
Increased military deployment across Judea and Samaria is vital, but Israel needs to implement additional security measures to combat terrorism.
In coming days, the Israel Defense Forces will most likely strive to meet two major challenges posed by the recent wave of terrorism: overcoming the vulnerability of the main roads in Judea and Samaria, and repairing the security fence, where numerous breaches allow Palestinians to infiltrate Israel illegally.
Concerns over the roads across Judea and Samaria have increased over the past few weeks, given the rise in the number of shooting and stabbing attacks that have taken place at major junctions in the area.
Hadar Buchris, 21, was murdered by a terrorist at Gush Etzion Junction on Sunday, despite the increased security deployment in and around the volatile area, where multiple attacks have taken place in recent weeks. The military plans to change the way it runs this busy intersection, which sees heavy daily pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
Soldiers stationed at the junction began setting up new cement barriers on the road on Sunday afternoon, creating makeshift checkpoints where arriving Palestinians will be searched for weapons. This measure seeks to ensure that terrorists are stopped before they pose a threat to Israeli civilians.
Similar measures have been ordered in other major Judea and Samaria junctions, including Tapuach and Shaar Binyamin, both of which are no strangers to terrorist attacks.
The area's regional councils are said to be looking into increasing the scope of private buses operating across Judea and Samaria, to minimize the need for hitchhiking in the area, as everyone understands hitchhikers are vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Still, a similar initiative in 2014, following the abduction of three Israeli teens in the area, was short-lived.
Increased military deployment aside, defense officials believe thousands of Palestinians are currently inside the Green Line illegally, and both the military and the police are sparing no effort to locate them and send them back to the West Bank while simultaneously slapping hefty fines on Israelis who employ them.
The effort, however, stands to be only partially successful, as entire segments of the security fence are completely breached, especially near the South Hebron Hills, allowing free travel to those seeking to enter Israel illegally.
Given that many of the terrorists in this wave of violence have come out of Hebron, the IDF and Shin Bet security agency have increased their operations and intelligence gathering efforts in the area, carrying out raids and arrests, and setting up temporary checkpoints to apprehend wanted individuals.
It is doubtful that these measures will do much to assuage the agitated sector, which has become a thorn in Israel's side over the past few weeks. The military has deployed seven battalions across the Hebron sector, a buffer between terrorists and Israeli civilians, but with only partial success. The defense establishment is also mulling ways to increase its pressure on Hebron if the violence is not quelled, including imposing travel restrictions on the Palestinians.
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