Israel prepares to deploy more troops in West Bank, costing $77mn

In anticipation of continuing clashes between Palestinians and Israelis, the Israeli government is preparing to deploy around 70 reserve battalions in the West Bank next year, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

The cost of deploying these battalions is reportedly estimated to be $77 million.  Four of the battalions had already received orders to deploy to the West Bank this coming January, but the army’s general staff is working under the assumption that violence will continue for “many months”, Haaretz reported.

Additional troops will be needed to relieve regular troops who have scheduled training.

This is not the first time that the Israeli army called up reservists. On 14 October, 1,400 border guard reservists were called up in Jerusalem, with 850 of them deployed in an attempt to quell the rising violence.

Earlier this week, Israeli security service Shin Bet published a report profiling the alleged perpetrators of recent attacks.  Many Palestinians suspected of committing attacks have been dubbed as “the Oslo generation” with birth dates after the end of the First Intifada and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority under Oslo.

It found that their motive is “a feeling of national, economic and personal oppression, as well as personal or psychological problems,” Haaretz quoted the report as saying.

Military Intelligence chief Herzl Helevi told the Israeli cabinet that Palestinians feel they have nothing left to lose.  However, Haaretz points out, government officials have contended that the current violence, at least from the Palestinian side, is focused on destroying Israel with no relation to the peace process.

Human rights organisations have accused the Israeli army of adopting a shoot-to-kill policy, saying that in some cases, the targeting and shooting of Palestinians amounted to executions.

Since the beginning of October until now, 85 Palestinians have been killed, with thousands more injured. Ten Israelis have been killed.

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