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.

Other posts by .

Posted In:

    Leave a Reply