(photo credit: JPost Staff)
The army began beefing up it forces in the West Bank on Wednesday, ahead of
riots that the defense establishment fears will break out ahead of Nakba Day on
RELATED:Galilee Arabs to hold 'Nakba March''Nakba Bill' passes Knesset in third
Several Palestinian groups have called for large demonstrations
along the country’s borders in mid-May ahead of Nakba Day – “the day of the
catastrophe” – when Palestinian commemoration of the establishment of the State
of Israel in 1948. Expectations are that the protests will start on
On Wednesday, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny
Gantz toured the West Bank with OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrachi and
met with brigade commanders to review preparations for the expected protests.
The increase in forces is the largest in the West Bank in more than three
Gantz told commanders that while intelligence assessments were
that the demonstrations would not escalate into extreme violence, it was
necessary to prepare for worst-case scenarios.
On Wednesday, IDF regional
brigade commanders met with their Palestinian counterparts to discuss ways to
contain the demonstrations.
Large demonstrations and so-called peaceful
marches toward the Gaza Strip security barrier and IDF checkpoints in the West
Bank are some of the scenarios the defense establishment is preparing for, amid
predictions that massive civil disturbances will break out in the Palestinian
The demonstrations would come just weeks before a large
protest flotilla sets out for Gaza. The Foreign Ministry is working to convince
the international community to stop the flotilla, and the navy is preparing
operational plans to prevent it from reaching the Strip.
preparing for a wide-range of scenarios including extreme ones such as an
attempt to start a third intifada,” Col. Avi Gil, commander of the Efraim
Regional Brigade, said on Wednesday.
“We are assessing the situation and
preparing soldiers for the different types of incidents they will
The IDF has begun establishing rapid response teams and is
identifying vantage points throughout the West Bank that could be used to
Expected hotspots include the Kalandiya
checkpoint north of Jerusalem, near Ofer Prison off Road 443 northwest of the
capital, and in Nablus, Tulkarm and Ramallah.
Large forces will be
deployed near these places to contain the protests, which are expected to
include stone-throwing but not live fire.
The concern is that in the
event of several large simultaneous demonstrations, the IDF would not be able to
contain them, possibly leading to many casualties. Commanders have been ordered
to prepare their soldiers mentally for how to respond to such
The Israel Police was scheduled to hold a series of
assessments on Wednesday and Thursday ahead of Nakba Day and to announce
security measures in the coming days. The Jerusalem Police is considering
restricting the number of Palestinians it allows to attend Friday prayers at the
Temple Mount, or alternatively to prevent Palestinians men aged under 40 from
Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police were making
preparations “in full cooperation with the IDF and the Border Police, with an
emphasis on Jerusalem, the Palestinian territories, and the north of Israel.”
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>