Arab riot
Arab riot Israel news photo

The IDF is hopeful that Palestinian Authority security forces will prevent PA Arabs from rioting and marching on Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria as part of the expected “celebrations” of the declaration of an Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. In order to enable the PA to prevent riots that could quickly spread out of control, Israel has authorized the PA to acquire anti-riot gear, including tear gas grenades and rubber bullets.

A report in Ha'aretz Thursday said that the PA had approached Israeli companies seeking to purchase such equipment, assuring the Israelis that they are doing everything they can to prevent unrest. But, the report says, the PA wants to be prepared for possible violence by factions seeking to take advantage of the expected protests, who may try to use violence against Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, or against IDF soldiers.

Meanwhile, Israel continues to make its own preparations for the riots that are expected to materialize after the PA requests recognition of its state in the U.N. later this month. IDF reserves are to be called up, and volunteer defense groups (kitot konenut) have been undergoing extensive training in how to deal with the prospect of Arabs marching on towns in Yesha.

Several towns straddling the 1948 armistice lines, including Makkabim/Re'ut, have revived their defense squads over the possibility that rioting will spill over into their towns as well. In addition, a number of Jewish institutions in largely Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, according to eyewitnesses, have already begun beefing up security, putting up additional fences and reinforcing concrete walls, out of fear that rioting will ensue.

On Wednesday, PA officials said that they did not expect any rioting at all, and that their security forces were prepared for any eventuality.