Israeli Defense Chiefs Advise Against Deploying Troops in E. Jerusalem in Wake of Terror Wave

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Israeli soldiers fire rubber bullets toward Palestinian protesters during clashes, Oct. 26, 2014. Credit: AP

Israeli defense officials have advised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to deploy troops in East Jerusalem as a response to the recent terror attacks in the capital, defense sources say.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon as well as the top brass of the Israel Defense Forces and police all object to such a move. Both the IDF and police fear that soldiers would be too quick to fire at demonstrators or exaggerate when using riot control measures.

Instead, the IDF suggested that additional Border Police detachments be put at the police’s disposal if necessary.

The idea to deploy the army arose amid the police’s problems in handling security in Jerusalem, which has seen an increasing number of terror attacks in recent weeks, notably by drivers seeking to run down passersby.

The view to use the army has won support among both cabinet members and opposition leaders such as former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) and Shas chief Aryeh Deri.

The IDF recently moved two Border Police detachments from the West Bank to Jerusalem. If needed, more Border Police contingents will be brought in, defense sources say.

They say tensions have risen sharply among West Bank Palestinians following the deaths of five Israels at a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood on Tuesday.

Many Palestinian organizations, media outlets and commentators on social networks have supported the attack. So far this support has not provoked terror attacks or large demonstrations in the West Bank; the violence in recent days has been restricted to East Jerusalem.

But the IDF is increasingly concerned that security arrangements designed to prevent the conflict from spreading to the West Bank are being eroded. This security depends on close cooperation between the IDF, the Shin Bet security service and the Palestinian Authority security forces.