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Commissioner in Confused Message as Arab Riots Approach

Police Commissioner Danino compares Arab riots with Tel Aviv housing protests, but also with Eilat terror.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 9/12/2011, 1:03 PM

Police Commissioner Lt. Gen. Yochanan Danino gave a confusing message Monday with regard to the treatment Arab rioters can expect after the Palestinian Authority requests the United Nations to recognize it as a full-fledged state.

Danino said that the declaration of the state, expected in about 10 days, will be accompanied by Arab protests in Judea and Samaria – but also inside the 1949 Armistice borders, where Arabs enjoy Israeli citizenship. 

Speaking at a conference at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Danino compared the police attitude toward the expected Arab "protests" with its treatment of the summer-long housing protests.

"It is okay to protest and to celebrate, but in accordance with the law," he explained. "We will not just allow it – we will also make sure that everyone who participates gets back home safely. We will behave as we did in the last demonstrations in the social protest."

If and when protests occur, he elaborated, "I have instructed the officers under my command to behave with tolerance, sensitivity and restraint – in order to avert escalation. However, all policemen know that the police will deal uncompromisingly with any instance of lawbreaking."

Danino said that whenever the law is broken, the police will employ "an iron hand" to make sure that the rights of other civilians are not damaged.

He also said , however, that "the events that have been taking place lately were like a preparation for September," and gave the murderous terror attacks near Eilat as an example. He noted that the Border Police's special counterterrorism unit "Yamam" went into action alongside the IDF and "saved the day" by preventing a more serious attack. 

Listeners were not sure how housing protests by Israeli citizens and murderous terror attacks could both be seen as preludes to the same events.