IDF training settlers for riot policing in anticipation of ‘mass disorder’ following Palestinian UN push

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 16 Comments

From Haaretz:

“According to a document acquired by Haaretz, the main working assumption of the defense establishment is that a Palestinian declaration of independence will cause a public uprising “which will mainly include mass disorder.”

“The document states the disorder will include “marches toward main junctions, Israeli communities, and education centers; efforts at damaging symbols of [Israeli] government.”

“Also, there may be more extreme cases like shooting from within the demonstrations or even terrorist incidents.”

Basically, any form of Palestinian organization is a form of disorganization from the Israeli POV (since there is no such thing as Palestine!). The use of the term is perhaps intended to signify the potential for disorganized violence, but it also suggests that the protests are not “legitimate” because they will be nothing more than an angry mob: that they are paroxysms of mob rule and Arab racism (And who decides what is legitimate? Why, Tel Aviv, of course!).

The outline for this policy was more or less annunciated back in June when new IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz had this to say after the Nabka Day demonstrations on Israel’s borders:

“The spectrum of the threats, in light of the changes in the Middle East, has broadened significantly – from daggers to nuclear weapons. There is a focal player in the Middle East – the street – and it is clear to us that in the coming months we can find ourselves in broad popular demonstrations, which gain public resonance. The IDF is preparing for these demonstrations.”

Gantz optimistically noted at the time that the next “conflict” (perhaps be meant to say “intifada”?) “will be brief but intense.”

The Haaretz article even notes that the IDF will “help” the settlers establish red lines – actual, physical lines in the sand – to determine whether or not someone is close enough to be shot at as a potential threat. Presumably, the settlers will not be needing guns (they are being provisioned with tear gas and stun grenades by the IDF) because they’ll be bringing their own to the party.

One has to wonder if the IDF’s list of foreign “disorders” would include such actions as the US’s Million Man March and South Africa’s “June 16″ demonstrations that resulted in the 1976 Soweto Uprising (which was prompted by a decision to enforce new language laws that disadvantged the non-white elite).

Nothing terrifies the Israeli government more than these two words: “public resonance.”

Accept the reality that you’ve helped craft, Netanyahu, Barak and Lieberman.

About Paul Mutter

Paul Mutter is a contributor to Mondoweiss, Foreign Policy in Focus and the Arabist.

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16 Responses

  1. Alex Kane
    August 30, 2011, 10:13 am

    FYI, a correction on the “red lines.” According to Haaretz, the “red lines” are not for the settlers, as you say, Paul. The IDF is establishing the virtual “lines” for themselves. Excerpts:

    The IDF has conducted detailed work to determine a “red line” for each settlement in the West Bank, which will determine when soldiers will be ordered to shoot at the feet of Palestinian protesters if the line is crossed…

    The army is establishing two virtual lines for each of the settlements that are near a Palestinian village. The first line, if crossed by Palestinian demonstrators, will be met with tear gas and other means for dispersing crowds.

    The second line is a “red line,” and if this one is crossed, the soldiers will be allowed to open fire at the legs of the demonstrators, as is also standard practice if the northern border is crossed.

  2. Woody Tanaka
    August 30, 2011, 10:30 am

    This should not surprise anyone. The settlers, themselves, (the adults among them) are an occupying army, are belligerents and are legitimate targets of resistance.

    The Israelis know this, they permit them to put their children in among them as human shields in the expectation that they can claim these occupying army personnel as “civilians” in case of justified attack by the Palestinians.

    This training is just bringing to the fore what has existed all along.

  3. seafoid
    August 30, 2011, 11:13 am

    Every anti apartheid struggle needs a Sharpeville and the settlers are most likely to oblige.

  4. Taxi
    August 30, 2011, 11:16 am

    The zionist government of Natanyahu is clearly desperate and sensing the growth of the invisible force of the awakened Arab giant: a regional collective DEMAND for the Liberation of Palestine, supported by the GLOBAL collective community.

    Now for an actual government to arm one segment of it’s society against another in a “democracy” must be just about the biggest joke-sham any “democratic” country can make. Didn’t Ghaddafi just do the same? LOL it sure looks like all the armed ruling desperados of the middle east have the same exact strategy, all use the same think-tank eggheads for consultants, all have EXACTLY the same immoral configurations and jackboot methods.

    Yet no amount of training or arming the masada brigade will stop the eventual dismantling of the criminal Apartheid settler enterprise. This much we can be sure of.

    The problem in the meantime is how to protect the innocents caught in that Apartheid pit of hate and murder.

  5. annie
    August 30, 2011, 12:35 pm

    preparing settlers on the front lines is truly gruesome. it erases any pretense of decency.

    • Walid
      August 30, 2011, 1:27 pm

      Annie, Israel is setting the stage to blame whatever happens in September on the settlers. Last year, the IDF was training for eventual uprising on the part of the settlers and talking of ways of protecting the Palestinians. We have to be looking out for what they are really up to.

      From Haaretz last year:
      21:44 17.05.10
      IDF concerned settler violence could spark Palestinian uprising
      GOC Central Command tells Kfir Brigade soldiers the IDF does not know of any Palestinian plans for response, but to prepare for possibility.

      Extremist settler activity could set the West Bank ablaze, GOC Central Command Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi warned on Monday at a brigade-wide training exercise at the Tze’elim military base in the Negev.

      The Kfir Brigade exercise focused on urban warfare – including the capture of a simulated Arab city – and pitted Israeli troops against Palestinian security forces.

      Senior officers present at the exercise, the most extensive session the infantry brigade has undergone since it was founded just over four years ago, said Monday there were no indications that Israel would have to fight the security forces.

      However, the army said it needs to be prepared for all eventualities.

      Mizrahi said he doesn’t expect tensions to rise in the West Bank in the near future.

      “I don’t think something will happen anytime soon, unless there’s a very serious incident on the Temple Mount or in the Cave of the Patriarchs,” he said. However, he said he was “very anxious” about an escalation being set off by settler violence.

      “Most of the settlement movement is fine, very normal, but a mosque set on fire and another mosque set on fire adds up,” Mizrahi said.

      Defense officials are concerned over a series of mosque burnings in the past six months, including a fire that destroyed books and prayer rugs in a mosque near Nablus that firefighters said earlier this month was caused by arson.

      Mizrahi said that while the council that officially represents settlers is willing to listen to defense officials, the army is worried about what some of the more radical settlers might do.

      “The Yesha Council is sane. Even if they might have become more militant, they understand what’s going on and we can talk to them,” Mizrahi said. “But in Yitzhar, in Maon and in Havat Gilad, they don’t believe in us at all as a state. They want something else, and when someone doesn’t know the limits anymore you don’t know where it will end up.”

      Mizrahi said the army and the Palestinian security forces, trained in Jordan by Keith Dayton, an American general, have been cooperating, but that Israeli soldiers still need to know how to fight them if the need should arise.

      “This is a trained, equipped, American-educated force,” Mizrahi said. “This means that at the beginning of a battle, we’ll pay a higher price. A force like that can shut down an urban area with four snipers. It’s not the Jenin militants anymore ¬ it’s a proper infantry force facing us and we need to take that into account. They have attack capabilities and we don’t expect them to give up so easily.”

      link to haaretz.com

      • annie
        August 30, 2011, 1:56 pm

        Israel is setting the stage to blame whatever happens in September on the settlers. i know, and blaming the palestinians too. whatever the outcome of the sept vote, israel is planning an attack. but your article is chilling. i’ve heard from the rightwingers who post here on more than one occasion and also in comment threads over @ dkos things like ‘if palestinians unilaterally declare a state israel will pull out of the OT and let the settlers battle it out to the finish’, heavily armed settlers of course. then there are those settlers who were protesting the dismanteling of one little outpost, setting off a string of ‘pricetags’ and that rabbi threatening the idf with settlers disobeying orders and saying (paraphrasing) it would be a battle of jew on jew. literally a civil war if israel tried to remove them from the settlements. i don’t think israel has the balls even if it wanted to (which it doesn’t) to reel in their settlers. they are on the front line for a purpose. it just makes me sick. cowards, cowards and thieves. and they keep building more settlements, and settlements for the ultra orthodox! a total set up.

      • annie
        August 30, 2011, 5:45 pm

        walid, there is a really good diary about this team adalah over @ dkos. in the comment section the author links to this article about lazer guided weapons that allow snipers to target civilians from up to a mile away. “IDF Snipers To Use Laser Designator in Riot Control”

        Because the Amit can designate targets up to a kilometer away in any weather conditions, they began using the system to target protesters. Snipers aim the laser designator at the legs of a protestor, and then shoot for the laser.

        i wonder if settlers are being trained to use these lazer guided weapons? and notice the framing of the article..it’s all propaganda about ‘safe’ weapons.

      • American
        August 30, 2011, 11:42 pm

        I don’t think they are setting up the settlers to take the blame for violence–they are setting up the Palestines.
        Israel will provoke something in September whether Palestine fails or succeeds at statehood at the UN…..provoke, attack, whine security, provoke, attack, whine security…..same tactic for decades.

  6. kalithea
    August 30, 2011, 12:37 pm

    Just great, now Palestinians will have to deal with “trained” lunatics.

  7. justicewillprevail
    August 30, 2011, 1:43 pm

    Oh, they just can’t wait, can they. Some peaceful demonstrations – an excellent chance for the settler IDF to practice their latest form of urban warfare, using their US supplied machinery to indiscriminately attack people with flags and banners. Then add some absurd propaganda about how the state of Disreal is threatened by children, get it on all the obedient MSM and Youtube, and drinks all round, another proud day for the Israeli branch of the KKK. A lot of casualties, lots of arrests without evidence, more homes smashed up, medals for all in the immoral army of animal farm.

  8. jdledell
    August 30, 2011, 5:50 pm

    The real problem with arming settlers (as if they don’t already have enough firepower) is not going to occur in the built up settlements. At these locations the IDF will be present and SHOULD be able to control the situation so that it does not deteriorate into extensive shooting.

    Instead the problem is going to occur at remote illegal outposts with relatively few settlers. These outposts are scattered everywhere and it will be impossible for the IDF to defend all of them. The people living in these outposts are going to shoot on sight any Palestinian or group that approaches. These are the true paranoid crazies who are going to start a real war.

  9. Bumblebye
    August 30, 2011, 8:04 pm

    BBC radio 5′s night time prog, “Up all Night” has just begun with the headline about IDF handing out stun grenades etc to settlers and the fuss it’s caused. This particular prog is presented by Rhod Sharp (a Scot) in America. Not sure when he’ll get to this particular segment.

    • Bumblebye
      August 30, 2011, 8:37 pm

      He spoke with Rabbi for Human Rights Arik Asherman (sp?) at 01.23 (oops, that’s BST) for approx 8 mins. Emphasis on the illegality of most settlements, on stolen Palestinian land – per GoI, 30 – 40%, in his view undoubtedly more. About their frequent attempts to “expand their sphere of influence” for supposed security, thus stealing more land, etc! And, yay! no ‘counterbalance’ putting settler/goi pov.

  10. Real Jew
    September 1, 2011, 12:57 am

    Israel is arming the cruel, violent, and murderous gang of the settlers?! Ha! Now would be a good time to shoot yourself in the foot. The settlers’ criminal activities are already completely out of control. They roam around the settlements in a hoard of masked thugs ready to cause unbiased destruction to anything or anyone not Jewish. Including “price tag” attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property such as uprooting olive trees, burning land and crops, destroying businesses and mosques.

    Even more despicable then destroying land, crops, and livelihoods are the settlers constant attacks (a lot of them fatal) on Palestinian women and children. Most recently a 55 yo settler man who ran over a 6 yo Palestinian girl with his car…and just kept driving!

    The police can’t even keep these belligerent maniacs in check. All hell breaks loose every time an outpost is dismantled. The settlers begin to demonstrate, then rebell, followed by an all out attack against the police force trying to bring calm. In all of these incidents numerous police injuries are reported.

    So go ahead geniuses and arm the settlers to the teeth. And when next week comes and the settlers are having a fit, again, u better believe those tear gas canisters and stun grenades will be hurling towards the police.

  11. Real Jew
    September 1, 2011, 1:30 am

    Israel is arming the most cruel, violent, and murderous group of the entire population, the settlers?! Ha! Now would be a good time to shoot yourself in the foot. The settlers roam around the settlements in a hoard of masked thugs, much like a crips gang roams around their LA neighborhood. Ready to cause unbiased destruction to anything or anyone not Jewish. Their favorite form of terrorism is known as “price tag” attacks. These attacks occur when the Israeli govt makes a decision that angers the settlers and they begin attacking Palestinian civilians’ property in retaliation to govt actions. Including but not limited to: uprooting olive trees, burning land, burning crops, and destroy businesses and mosques.

    Even more despicable then destroying land, crops, and livelihoods are the settlers constant attacks (a lot of them fatal) on Palestinian women and children. Most recently a 55 yo settler man who ran over a 6 yo Palestinian girl with his car…and just kept driving!

    The police can’t even keep these belligerent maniacs in check. All hell breaks loose every time an outpost is dismantled. The settlers begin to demonstrate, then rebell, followed by an all out attack against the police force trying to bring calm. In all of these incidents numerous police injuries are reported.

    So go ahead geniuses and arm the settlers to the teeth. And when next week comes and the settlers are having a fit, again, u better believe those tear gas canisters and stun grenades will be hurling towards the police.

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