Daily Israel Report

IDF: Preparation, Restraint as September 20 Approaches

IDF reservists are retrained in restrained, non-violent response in preparation for possible PA statehood bid riots.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 9/18/2011, 11:49 AM

Reservists stand guard near Jerusalem
Reservists stand guard near Jerusalem
Flash 90

Many IDF reservists have received an emergency call-up notice in recent days, telling them to report for duty Sunday. They join reserve forces called up last week and the week before, all of whom are preparing for possible unrest in Judea, Samaria and elsewhere when the Palestinian Authority asks the UN to recognize it as a state.

Before deployment, reservists have been reminded of the IDF rules of engagement, which include a strong preference for non-lethal response. Soldiers were reminded that they may fire on rioters only in cases of a direct and immediate threat to life.

Soldiers may not fire if a rioter has already put a potentially fatal attack in motion, such as by throwing a firebomb. Commanders also spoke of the importance of avoiding injury to children, who are often included in violent PA Arab riots in the region.

Many of the reservists have been trained in the proper use of crowd control methods such as tear gas. Both Israeli and PA forces have been equipped with riot gear.

The goal, commanders said, is to avoid an escalation of violence to the greatest extent possible. The IDF has not changed its rules of engagement, they added, but is simply reviewing them.

Security forces in the various Israeli cities and villages in the region are also preparing, and have trained their people on how to respond in case rioters attempt to overrun the town. Security personnel told Arutz Sheva that they would show zero tolerance in such a case.

While reservists reporting for duty this week are being trained on how to deal with violence relating to the PA statehood bid, many of those called up previously have been put to work dealing with one of the everyday tasks facing soldiers in Judea and Samaria: preventing the attempts by many thousands of PA Arab men to enter Israel illegally in order to find work. Such efforts have continued unabated in recent months, as soaring PA unemployment and financial crises outweigh PA leaders’ anti-Israel rhetoric.