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The strategic importance of the Palestinians in Israel in any upcoming war

Palestinians seen at the anniversary march of the "Great March of Return" and "Palestinian Land Day" protests at Israel-Gaza border on March 30, 2019 [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]
A Palestinian women at a protest in Gaza on 30 March 2019 [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]

The number of Palestinians inside the Occupied Territories is two million, which makes them a large, influential and disturbing force for Israel, especially as they have very important strengths. The occupier began to notice these strengths in the wake of Operation Sword of Jerusalem, during which these citizens clashed with the occupation forces and settlers in solidarity with their brothers in the Gaza Strip, who fought a heroic battle as a reaction to the fierce Israeli attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Their movement was alarming to the occupation forces, which began to consider the possibility of Palestinian youths at home succeeding in obstructing the movement of the military forces, disrupting the implementation of operations and war plans, and the possibility of widespread clashes with settlers in a way that the police would not be able to confront, requiring the army's intervention. This would take the army away from its work in other areas, and exhaust its efforts in a task other than its main task.

The importance of the influence of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is increased by their proximity to the Israeli settlement blocs. Therefore, as soon as one of them intends to take action, they are able to do so immediately; they do not need to cross borders or checkpoints. They are at the heart of the enemy's location.

The Palestinians in Israel possess very important strategic strengths, as they are spread across the Palestinian map, from the north in Acre and Haifa to the south in the Negev, passing through the centre across Lod, Ramla and the Triangle. This means any movement by the Palestinians inside affects Israel as a whole, and not just a specific spot.

In the event of a confrontation, the Gaza Strip, for example, will not be able to effectively influence the north of occupied Palestine, while in the event that it enters into a confrontation with the Israeli enemy, the Lebanese resistance, will not be able to effectively influence southern Palestine. However, the Palestinians inside Israel are able to influence the entity as a whole. This issue also deprives the enemy of the possibility of isolating and besieging these Palestinians, which is something the Israeli security establishment is aware of, and has begun to work on in order to reduce its influence by seeking to isolate the Palestinian communities in Israel with settlements, whose final appearance forms a complete wall, which would surround every community, and isolate them completely.

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Also, one of their strengths is their proximity to major streets in occupied Palestine, which allows them to be able to cut them off and completely paralyse movement, both in terms of military and civil movement. Imagine the impact of a young man pouring large amounts of oil on Highway 6, which is one of the most important streets in Israel which connects the south and the north, and is vital in the event of a confrontation with the resistance in Lebanon. This highway is also close to Wadi Ara, where there is a very important Palestinian community.

This could happen on a larger scale in the Negev, where Palestinian communities are spread over a wide geographical area, making them capable of cutting off dozens of vital streets, completely isolating the city of Beersheba, and perhaps isolating southern Palestine – where the most important military and air bases in Israel are, from the north and centre, where the largest human communities are located. This also applies to the train line, which can be stopped and paralysed with great ease, and one can only imagine the magnitude of disruption that can be caused if many stones were placed along the railway line in the Negev.

The Palestinians of the Negev are also able to effectively affect dozens of strategic military and air bases, as they live close to them. The Israelis have previously complained that some Palestinians sabotaged important military equipment and seized large quantities of weapons. A few months ago, two Israeli soldiers were killed by internal fire while trying to confront such actions.

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We can also imagine the extent of the damage that could by caused to Israel's air force capabilities in the event of a comprehensive war, when some of the Palestinians from the Negev shoot at the advanced warplanes while they are on the ground inside their hangars, or sabotage them by any means, such as setting them on fire or flooding them with water.

The geographical proximity of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories means they are able to carry out very dangerous operations against Israel without much effort, as it is possible to set fires in forests, vital factories and important institutions.

These are some of the strengths possessed by the Palestinians within, which make their ability to confront Israel very great in any upcoming war. This raises great concern and anticipation in the hearts of the Israeli enemy.

This article first appeared in Arabic in the Palestinian Information Centre on 9 May 2022

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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