The Third Front: The IDF in the West Bank

Since the outbreak of the war, the IDF has faced threats on seven different fronts (Gaza, YOS (the west bank), Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Yemen), and as Defense Minister Yoav Galant put it, “we operate in six of them.” While most of the public and media focus is naturally on Gaza and Lebanon, where most of the IDF soldiers are located and the fiercest fighting is taking place, extensive operations are carried out daily in YOS, from detention of Terror operatives to destruction of terrorist infrastructures.

In fact, it was recently calculated that the number of terrorists killed in the West Bank in this war have exceeded the number of terrorists killed during the entire Operation ‘Defensive Shield’ in 2002 (at least 250 dead), which was carried out in order to suppress the second Intifada. Some see this as a bad sign of the situation – that is, if the IDF harms Palestinians equally without any real change in the field, it means the Palestinians have strengthened in the past 20 years; However, this view also misses the IDF’s point of view, since the IDF operated in YOS in 2002 with several divisions, while now the actions are carried out with smaller and lesser forces, which indicate the relative improvement in the IDF’s strength compared to the West Bank terrorists organizations.

Yesterday, for example, Operation ‘Golden Swords’ was carried out to confiscate terrorist funds. The operation was carried out in cooperation between the IDF, the Shin Bet, the police and the Israeli Tax Authority, and took place simultaneously in several major cities, including Jenin, Ramallah, Tulkarm and Halhul. The operation targeted Hamas financiers, and ended with great success – with over 20 wanted terrorists arrested, and tens of millions of shekels in cash confiscated. These funds were intended to buy weapons and carry out attacks against Jews; now they may be used as rehabilitation funds for the wounded soliders in Gaza, or for some other higher purpose.

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