Israel to form 'anti-Palestinian resistance force' in occupied West Bank

Israel to form 'anti-Palestinian resistance force' in occupied West Bank
The new agency will be made up of various state institutions, including the police and army, and will be charged with clamping down on Palestinian resistance to annexation plans.
2 min read
26 February, 2020
Israeli intelligence assessments fear mass unrest among Palestinians in wake of Netanyahu's annexation plans [Getty]
Israeli authorities will establish a joint defence agency tasked with "supressing Palestinian resistance", if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes ahead with plans to annex West Bank settlements, according to a Haaretz report.  

Composed of state institutions - including the army and police - the new agency is drawing up contingency plans for a range of possible scenarios, including mass popular uprisings in cities across the West Bank.

Intelligence assessments fear mass unrest among Palestinians in the event of Netanyahu's victory in next week's elections, which will likely pave the way for Israel to impose full sovereignty over settlements in the occupied West Bank. 

The Knesset caretaker government's attempts to adopt the measure in December drew criticism from Israel's security establishment due to its timing.

The efforts came as US President Donald Trump announced his Middle East peace plan - dubbed Deal of the Century - which Israeli intelligence predicted would cause major uproar from Palestinians.

The deal is seen by Palestinians as a clear capitulation the demands of the Israeli right-wing, giving Israel the green light to annex large parts of the West Bank, including settlements, which are considered illegal under international law.

Netanyahu, who stood by Trump's side as he unveiled the deal at the White House, has leveraged his enthusiasm for the plan in order to entice pro-settler votes in the election.

Read more: Netanyahu using Trump's Middle East plan to win votes 

The new agency is preparing to combat "terror attacks" and "rocket fire" which could emerge from the Gaza Strip, as well as the possibility of Lebanese activists breaching Israel's northern and southeastern borders to join the ranks demonstrators, according to the report.

On Tuesday, a shaky ceasefire took hold between Israel and Islamic Jihad - a militant group active in the coastal enclave - following two days of heavy fighting, where the group launched over 80 rockets, according to the Israeli army.

Jerusalem has also been singled out as another "main theatre of escalation" according to intelligence assessments, the report adds, even predicting "attempts by Palestinians to barricade themselves on the Temple Mount".

Israel's military will clamp down on popular protest in the West Bank and along the Gaza border, while the police and border force will protect settlements. 

The preparations will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and will include holding joint exercises and purchasing military equipment.

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