The IDF has pulled soldiers out of front line communities near the northern and southern borders, a senior army source said Tuesday, after senior commanders concluded that the arrangement was no longer necessary for security.
In the past, the IDF’s Southern Command placed soldiers at the entrance to nine towns and villages near the Gaza and Egypt borders, while the Northern Command secured 13 frontier communities in this way.
Evaluations carried out at IDF headquarters concluded that enhanced border security measures, such as electronic sensors, patrols, and lookout posts, combined with additional components, meant that the practice of placing soldiers inside the communities is no longer necessary.
“We know where the threats come from, what routes threats could take, and we understand these measures are no longer needed,” the source said. “The need to defend from inside communities seems less relevant,” he stated.
Operational considerations rather than budgetary constraints lay behind the move, he added.
In the West Bank, the Central Command will continue placing soldiers in settlements for their protection against terrorist attacks.
Haim Yalin, head of the Eshkol Regional Council near the Gaza Strip, told The Jerusalem Post that the decision is a mistake that will harm security of local residents.
“We totally oppose this. There is no replacement for soldiers who defend places like Kerem Hashalom and Nativ Ha’asara, and give residents a sense of security. When people see soldiers with their uniforms and flak jackets guarding, they sleep soundly.”
Yalin said communities located within a kilometer of Gaza especially required the additional protection.
“The minute there will be an infiltration by terrorists, people will go to the heads of local councils and ask why we allowed the soldiers to leave. We live here and breath the air; we understand the threats. We know the threats posed by fog, and the dangers posed by farmers who work near the Gaza border,” Yalin said.
View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/Defense/IDF-pulls-soldiers-out-of-front-line-communities-326349