The Israeli military is preparing to call up as many as 70 defense battalions in 2016 because of mounting violence in the West Bank. Four battalions received notices this week and are expected to begin operational service in January with dozens more following during the year, the liberal Tel Aviv daily Haaretz reported Friday.
The cost of the call ups will be $77 million, the report said. The likely deployment next year comes against the backdrop of increased violence in the West Bank and general unrest in Gaza, which has been markeded by stabbing and shooting incidents in Jerusalem. Israel has said the current spate of clashes, which may lead to a third intifada, began in the wake of the murders of husband and wife Eitam and Naama Henkin six weeks ago. They were killed in a drive-by shooting in the West Bank.
Since the end of the last intifada in 2005, which lasted five years, suicide bombings and other violence have been few and far between, with the exception of the 49-day Gaza Strip conflict in 2014. At the end of the 2005 conflict, Israel was pushed into a significant diplomatic concession, which included unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza plus four West Bank settlements.
But the peace hasn't stopped violent action by Palestinian youth who say they have little to lose by engaging Israel in another conflict, Haaretz reported.
Shin Bet, the Israeli security services, produced a document earlier this week profiling the perpetrators of recent attacks, saying their motives are “a feeling of national, economic and personal oppression, as well as personal or psychological problems,” Middle East Eye reported.
That reasoning matches with what military intelligence Chief Herzl Halevi said earlier this month during an Israeli Cabinet meeting. He said one reason for the current violence is the anger and frustration felt by Palestinians.