SCALING BACK

Israeli Army Hits 20-Year Low in West Bank

Does this mean the West Bank is getting less hostile? The number of Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank has hit a 20-year low, according to a report from the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Troop numbers first shot up there after the first intifada in 1987, fell briefly with the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords, and then skyrocketed again after the second intifada was declared in 2000. The army would not address the drawdown, since it never comments on troop numbers. But military officials at the army’s Central Command said that it had been able to reduce its presence because of improved “preemptive capabilities” and Shin Bet internal security services. Currently, the army’s list of West Bankers wanted for attacks against it is almost empty and the rash of suicide bombings has eased off since 2005.