Preparations are underway to ensure that the IDF is ready to respond should Palestinians mount mass protests in the West Bank. The army is forming rapid response teams, which would be able to immediately deploy and contain any protests, and surveys are being conducted to identify high ground to be used for mounting surveillance.
Israel’s leadership fears that Palestinians may take matters into their own hands, staging protests in order to force a resolution of the issues amidst a stalled peace process. While Israel’s intelligence assessments thus far suggest that small protests, like one held in Ramallah yesterday are possible, the possibility of mass protests in the West Bank is thought to be low. However, given the continuing tension between the PA’s Fatah and Hamas, it is possible that Hamas could try to stir up protests in a bid to further delegitimize the PA. On the other hand, the PA could urge Palestinians to protest in an effort to delegitimize Israel. In either case, the IDF would do well to be prepared to respond and contain the fallout.