An unnamed Israeli security source said on Wednesday that the arrest operations “started in the past few days and will increase.”
“There is a certain (Palestinian) awakening,” said the source, adding, “As a consequence a decision was taken within the security establishment to increase intelligence activity and arrests among members of Hamas or activists against Israel.”
On Tuesday, undercover Israeli forces, who were trying to detain a suspected Islamic Jihad resistance fighter, were reportedly pelted with stones by an angry crowd.
Palestinian security sources also reported that dozens of people were slightly injured when Israeli soldiers fired rubber bullets, live rounds and tear gas at the crowd.
Israeli military sources said the arrest operation was routine. However, there is a noticeable change in the Palestinian response to the move.
“What is exceptional is the grave disturbances,” Israeli public radio’s military affairs reporter quoted military sources as saying.
The sources added that an operation like this “would not in the past have brought disturbances of this kind.”
In December, Israeli troops were forced to quit an attempt to detain a Palestinian policeman in a village in the southern occupied West Bank when crowds of local residents hurled stones at them.
However, the military sources believed that “talk of a third intifada is premature.”
According to a report on December 16, Palestinian youths in the city of al-Khalil have reportedly formed a group, called the National Union Battalions, with the aim of bringing about a third intifada in the occupied territories.
Members of Palestinian groups like Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) are the founders of the group.
The Palestinians twice rose up against the Israeli occupiers in their intifadas (uprisings); in December 1987 and September 2000. A total of 6,200 Palestinians died during their first such move between 1987 and 1993 and the second one in 2000s, which were both fiercely confronted by Israel.