IDF prepares for escalation in West Bank violence

IDF gearing up for violent demonstrations in W. Bank amid concern that PA President Abbas’s speech at UN will increase "resistance."

By
September 25, 2011 03:40
2 minute read.
Palestinian clashes West Bank

Palestinian clashes West Bank_311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

The IDF is gearing up for an escalation in violent demonstrations in the West Bank this week amid concern that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech at the United Nations on Friday will motivate the public to increase their “resistance.”

“We see calls for escalation on the Palestinian street and expect more stone throwing over the coming days,” a senior IDF officer said. On Sunday, the Central Command will review its current deployment and depending on developments, consider the possible release of several units from active duty in the West Bank to return to training.

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On Friday, IDF troops shot and killed a Palestinian demonstrator outside the village of Qusra in the West Bank, marking the first casualty since riots began earlier this week in conjunction with the PA’s bid for statehood at the UN.

The dead man was identified as 33-year-old Issam Kamal Odeh and he was shot during clashes with the IDF troops near Qusra which is located close to the city of Nablus. On Saturday, Judea and Samaria Division Commander Brig.-Gen. Nitzan Alon conducted an inquiry of the incident and found a number of flaws with the way the IDF unit at the scene operated.

The violent clashes erupted after settlers from a nearby illegal outpost walked to the outskirts of Qusra and began provoking the residents.

“The IDF unit failed to stop them from reaching the village even though it was a place which had seen violence in the past,” a senior IDF officer said on Saturday. “After the clashes intensified, a commander found himself with a small force on his own which opened fire fearing that his soldiers’ lives were in danger.”

Violence also broke out over the weekend in east Jerusalem and at the Kalandiya crossing north of the capital. A number of Jerusalem Arabs and Palestinians were arrested by police. Other protests were held at the villages of Bil’in and Nil’in near the West Bank security barrier.

Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz toured the West Bank on Friday and held a number of security consultations with commanders in the field.

Gantz visited the Kalandiya Crossing together with OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrachi and then traveled to the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, stopping to meet soldiers deployed near Bethlehem.

“It is our job to control the situation and maintain quiet to enable the political leadership to make decisions,” Gantz told soldiers during the tour.


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