IDF soldiers watching Syria protest 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
The IDF Ground Forces Command is in the final stages of completing a new operational doctrine for containing so-called peaceful anti-Israel marches, and in the coming weeks will hold a military-wide seminar to prepare commanders for an increase in demonstrations ahead of the Palestinians’ unilateral declaration of statehood in September.
The work on the doctrine began several months ago, and is not connected to the results of the Nakba Day riots that broke out along the Syrian border on Sunday, leading to the infiltration of some 100 Syrians into Israel.
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The work is being done by Brig.-Gen. Miki Edelstein, the IDF’s chief infantry and paratroop officer.
The decision to write a new IDF doctrine – which dictates the way
commanders are supposed to counter and contain violent protests and
marches – was made amid concern that Israel will face a growing number
of demonstrations in the coming months, particularly following UN
recognition of Palestinian statehood at the General Assembly in
“The whole idea in incidents like these is to know how to confront the
people marching as unarmed – if they really are – and to do everything
possible to prevent casualties on both sides,” Edelstein told The
Jerusalem Post in an interview on Monday.
The plan has been approved by Deputy Chief of General Staff Yair Naveh.
The Ground Forces Command has received a special budget to purchase new
riot control and crowd dispersion equipto forces confronting the
Work on the new doctrine will be completed by mid-June, and will be
followed by a live exercise meant to simulate large-scale demonstrations
and borderline marches to prepare soldiers for such a scenario.
“This doctrine will be relevant for mass marches with the aim of containing them,” he said.
In addition to standard riot gear like tear gas, rubber bullets and
protective equipment, the IDF is also purchasing 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.
According to Edelstein, a large emphasis will be placed preparing
soldiers to withstand the pressure during demonstrations and not resort
“A large part of this is being prepared mentally so soldiers will know how to restrain themselves,” he said.