Vilnai to ‘Post’: PA working to contain demonstrations

"No reason for violence to erupt or for events to get out of control,” no indication of violent resistance plans, home front defense minister says.

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September 20, 2011 20:57
2 minute read.
Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai

Vilnai 311. (photo credit: Yaakov Katz)

Palestinian security forces are prepared to contain demonstrations in the West Bank and prevent them from turning violent, Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i said on Tuesday amid fears of possible violence following the PA’s declaration of statehood at the United Nations later this week.

Vilna’i, who this week is the acting defense minister due to Ehud Barak’s visit to the United States, said that there was no intelligence or indications that the Palestinians planned to launch a violent resistance following the UN move.

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“There is no reason for violence to erupt or for events to get out of control,” Vilna’i told The Jerusalem Post.

“Nonetheless, the defense establishment is well prepared for all possible scenarios.”

Vilna’i said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad appeared to be at odds over the UN move and that Fayyad is understood to be opposed to the declaration at the UN.

“The path for peace runs between Jerusalem and Ramallah,” Vilna’i said. “The Palestinians will not gain anything from going to the UN and will only raise expectations which could, at a later stage, lead to violence.”

On Tuesday, ahead of demonstrations expected to be held later this week, IDF regional brigade commanders in the West Bank held talks with their Palestinian counterparts to coordinate operations aimed at containing the protests and preventing a violent escalation.

The IDF has also tightened its rules of engagement as part of an effort to minimize potential for an escalation due to tactical operations or mistakes. As reported on Tuesday in the Post, the IDF has reduced operations inside Palestinian cities and towns in territory defined as Area A, which is under full Palestinian control.

Such operations will be carried out only to prevent imminent terrorist attacks that are in motion, with the understanding that Israeli incursions into Area A embarrass PA security forces and undermine their authority in the eyes of the Palestinian people.


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