IDF gearing up for ‘Nakba Day’ violence

IDF is concerned it will face repeat of 2011’s Nakba Day protests when nearly 100 Syrians crossed into Israel at Golan border.

May 14, 2012 04:17
2 minute read.
IDF soldiers bring Syrian infiltrators back

Syrian Infiltrators 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Amid concerns that violence may break out, the IDF is beefing up forces and anti-riot teams along Israel’s borders ahead of “Nakba Day” on Tuesday.

The IDF is concerned that it will face a repeat of last year’s Nakba Day protests when nearly 100 Syrians succeeded in crossing into Israel from the Golan Heights.

A number of protesters were reported killed by the IDF along the borders with Lebanon and Syria.

Nakba Day – or the “day of catastrophe” – is the day Palestinians mark the establishment of the State of Israel and its subsequent refugee crisis.

“There are preparations and we will not allow a violation of Israel’s sovereignty,” one officer explained on Sunday.

Since last year, the IDF has upgraded its riot gear with new nonlethal systems such as the “Skunk” and “Scream,” which have been used in the West Bank to disperse demonstrators. “Scream” is a device that emits penetrating bursts of sound that leave protesters dizzy and nauseous, while “Skunk” contains a foul-smelling liquid that is sprayed on protesters.

The IDF has equipped battalions with new receivers for the standardissued M-16 semi-automatic rifle so that it can shoot 0.22 mm. rounds.

The standard 5.556 mm. round is not as lethal when fired from a distance by sharpshooters.

The army has also purchased impact rounds for snipers to use with Remington M-24 7.62 mm. rifles.

Impact rounds are usually made of non-lead materials and do not penetrate the skin but rather inflict a painful blow to the target or victim.

The new equipment comes on the heels of ordering other riot gear such as tear gas, rubber bullets and protective equipment.

The IDF also recently completed the erection of a new fence along the Syrian border as well as the construction of new minefields aimed at preventing infiltrations.

Israel has passed on messages to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon warning that the IDF will use force to prevent an infiltration of its border.

In response, UNIFIL plans to deploy large forces along the border.

In the West Bank, the IDF and civil administration are coordinating with Palestinian Authority security forces to allow Palestinian protest without an escalation in violence. Expected hotspots will once again include the Kalandiya crossing between Jerusalem and Ramallah.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said standard law enforcement deployments would occur on Nakba Day, in line with security assessments.

The police’s seven districts will hold further deliberations in the coming days, and coordinate their preparations with one another, Rosenfeld added.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.

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