31 August 2011

Operation Summer Seeds: Israël bewapent kolonisten

Helaas wordt niet gemeld dat de kolonisten al heel lang tot de tanden bewapend zijn.

Israeli military arms settlers in preparation for Palestinian protests

The Guardian | By Harriet Sherwood | 30.08.2011 | NEDERLANDS

West Bank settlers are given training before protests predicted to coincide with a Palestinian petition for UN recognition

The Israeli military is arming and training West Bank settlers in preparation for mass protests by Palestinians that it expects to erupt around the time that the UN is asked to recognise a Palestinian state, according to a leaked document.

Teargas and stun grenades are being distributed and training sessions held with settlement security teams, according to the document obtained by Haaretz.

The army has also drawn lines on maps around Jewish settlements close to Palestinian villages to guide troops, police and settlement security chiefs. Protesters who breach the first line will be subject to teargas and other methods of crowd dispersal. If a second "red line" is crossed, soldiers will be permitted to open fire at protesters' legs.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) confirmed it was liaising with settlers over Operation Summer Seeds, its codename for the military response to the expected protests. However, Palestinian leaders vigorously deny that violent protests are planned, and the Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak, has said he expects September to pass quietly.

In a statement the IDF said: "The IDF maintains an ongoing, professional dialogue with the community leadership and security personnel throughout Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] while devoting great efforts to training local forces and preparing them to deal with any possible scenario.

"Recently, central command has completed training the majority of the first response teams; these exercises are ongoing. Beyond the aforementioned training, the IDF cannot comment further regarding its operational preparedness."

According to Haaretz, the army has held training sessions for settlement security officers at a military installation near the West Bank settlement of Shiloh.

Settlers are pressing the IDF to issue specific instructions on how they should respond to Palestinian protests, the paper says, but the military advocate general is concerned that such instructions could be interpreted as rules of engagement.

Hagit Ofran, of Peace Now, an Israeli organisation which monitors settlement activity, said: "We hope the army is making clear that non-violent protest is legitimate and no settlers should use any violence against unarmed demonstrators."

Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights said there were already "serious questions and problems" with settlement security officials acting outside their designated boundaries. "We're very concerned that [the IDF move] will not reduce conflict but increase it," he said.

Preparation for anticipated protests has been under way for weeks, with extra training given to thousands of police officers and soldiers. The Israeli authorities have allocated funds for training exercises and the purchase of additional equipment.

The military has reportedly stockpiled around 200,000 litres of foul-smelling liquid to be fired from water cannon at protesters, or possibly dropped from planes. Supplies of stun grenades, rubber bullets and riot gear are also being topped up. (lees verder)

Leaked Document: Israeli Forces Train And Arm Settlers To Attack Palestinian Protesters

IMEMC News | By Saed Bannoura | 31.08.2011 | NEDERLANDS

Israeli settlers living in violation of international law in the West Bank have been issued stun grenades and tear gas by the Israeli military, in preparation for anticipated protests by Palestinians following the UN statehood declaration later this month.

The Israeli military has codenamed the planned attack on Palestinians "Operation Summer Seeds", which sounds much like the 2006 "Operation Summer Rains" in which 40,000 sound grenades and live missiles were dropped on the Gaza Strip over the course of the summer.

According to an internal Israeli government document leaked to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, Israeli troops distributed maps with red lines drawn on them around Israeli settlements in the West Bank, with instructions to soldiers that if Palestinian protesters get too close to the settlements, they should be shot in the legs.

The instructions do not differentiate between non-violent demonstrations by Palestinians and violent attacks by Palestinians, instead implying that non-violent demonstrators would be subjected to being shot in the legs if they cross a 'line' whose location has not been shared with any Palestinians.

Security guards hired by Israeli settlements in the West Bank have attended trainings held by the Israeli military in which they learned methods of subduing protests using both non-lethal and lethal violence. Engaging with Palestinian protesters outside of settlement boundaries is beyond the purview of settlement security guards, but the Israeli military has authorized the guards to act as a branch of the military during any upcoming protests.

The leaked document also includes a statement by the Israeli military that they are making extensive preparations "to deal with incidents near the fences and the borders of the state of Israel." Although the state of Israel has never defined its borders since its creation in 1948, the reference to 'borders' appears to refer to the edges of Israeli settlements, built on annexed Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

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