Top Palestinian Authority officials have recently been giving talks to IDF soldiers, including senior officers. The lectures began a few months ago with the appearance of a veteran PA official before an army brigade serving in the West Bank; the event also featured talks by the Yesha Council of settlements chairman Danny Dayan, former intelligence officers and an Israeli journalist.

At a different event, which took place this week before a brigade in the Judea command, a senior Palestinian official spoke to infantry officers who are on active duty in Hebron. This meeting, too, was attended by representatives of Jewish settlements in the area.

The goal of the army and the civil administration, which has assisted in organizing these meetings, is to inform soldiers and officers of the nature of recent changes in the West Bank, and of the complexity of their mission when operating within the Palestinian populace. The speakers describe developments in the field from the Palestinian point of view, and emphasize the importance of protecting civilians during operations.

Senior PA officials who have been giving these lectures requested not to be identified, so as not to harm their standing in their community. The phenomenon of cooperation between the army and the Palestinians is extraordinary, and something that has never been previously acceptable - not even before the Second Intifada began in September 2000.

Meanwhile, cooperation between the PA security apparatus and the IDF continues to improve. The sides exchange information, and the PA turns over weapons it has confiscated to the army.

Nonetheless, the army recently carried out a large-scale exercise in case conflagrations are renewed with the Palestinians.

The exercise examined dealing with Palestinian fighters who might aim their weapons at IDF soldiers if the current situation deteriorates.