PA sources: September rallies will avoid clashes with IDF

Demonstrations in support of Palestinian UN statehood bid will be confined to areas under full PA control.

August 12, 2011 23:29
3 minute read.
Palestinians wave flags during a protest

Palestinians wave flags during a protest (R) 311. (photo credit: Reuters)

Rallies in support of the Palestinian bid for recognition of a state at the UN General Assembly in September will take place solely within areas of the West Bank under the control of the Palestinian Authority in order to avoid confrontation with the IDF, PA sources were quoted as saying on Friday.

"Ramallah rallies will be carried out in Manara square, Bethlehem rallies will be carried out in the yard of the Nativity Church and so on," Palestinian news agency Maan quoted the the sources as saying. "We will not give the [Israeli] occupation any excuse to abuse our children or to kill our residents."

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The sources said that demonstrations would be confined to Area A, under full Palestinian Authority civil and security control, and would not spill over into Area C, where the IDF and residents of West Bank settlements have freedom of movement.

The sources added that Israeli media speculation about possible violence resulting from the Palestinian UN bid in September was a ploy to take attention off of Prime Minister Binyamin Netamnyahu's domestic problems with social justice protests occurring across Israel.

"[The media speculation is] an attempt by Netanyahu to export his internal crisis with the protesters in Israel to the Palestinian territories."

Current IDF assessments refer to the possibilities of a large outbreak of violence or sporadic, large and non-violent marches towards Jewish settlements or IDF checkpoints following the Palestinian bid for statehood.

The IDF has drawn up plans to issue emergency call-up orders to reservists who might be needed to beef up security along Israel’s borders next month.

IDF sources said the call-up orders would be issued per operational requirements, but in the meantime it was training reservists in crowd-control techniques.

The IDF has also embarked on a multimillion dollar procurement plan for new riot control equipment to deal with possible protests along the country’s borders.

The new equipment is in addition to other riot gear like tear gas, rubber bullets and protective equipment, as well as new technological systems such as the “Scream,” a device that emits penetrating bursts of sound that leave protesters dizzy and nauseous, as well as the “Skunk Bomb,” which contains a foulsmelling liquid sprayed on protesters.

Some of these devices have been used to disperse anti-security barrier demonstrations in the past in the West Bank.

Also, senior Palestinian Authority officials have issued orders to PA security forces to stop demonstrations from turning violent, Maan reported.

Palestinian Authority security services spokesman Adnan Dmairi called on Palestinians to hold “peaceful, public” protests without violence.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak revealed Tuesday that he recently spoke with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to coordinate ways to minimize potential violence in September.

“You can never be fully prepared for every scenario but we are engaged in a serious and comprehensive process of preparation,” he said during a tour of a naval ship in Haifa. “I have also spoken with the PA leadership – with Abbas and Fayyad – about the need to behave responsibly.”

Yaakov Katz and Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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