Border policemen near Ramallah_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Police have completed a major drill to test riot-response capabilities ahead of
the planned Palestinian statehood recognition bid at the UN.
Danino: Mass protests likely following Palestinian UN bid
'Palestinian UN statehood bid popular in Europe'
national headquarters in Jerusalem on Sunday, Insp.-Gen. Yochanan Danino said
police would allow nonviolent rallies by Israeli Arabs and Palestinians under
Israeli jurisdiction to go ahead, adding that there was no intelligence
information indicating planned disturbances.
“Experience has shown that
we have to be ready for a sudden outbreak of violence,” he said. “This exercise
was held to ensure that all systems are working. We tested various scenarios
again and again. We’ll be happy not to use any of these measures, [but] the
scenarios that were drilled were realistic.”
The police chief added that
the terrorism threat had not changed over the past two weeks.
Nissim Mor, head of the Operations Branch and a former bomb squad officer,
described the coming period as a “minefield without flags,” saying police needed
to proceed with caution.
The number of specially trained riot police had
gone up by around 50 percent, from 5,000 to 7,400, with an additional 1,500
officers on standby, Mor said.
The officers are assigned to 16 command
and control centers across the country. Police have already beefed up their
presence around Jerusalem.
Officers have been trained to deploy non-lethal riot response measures. To that end, 200,000 liters of “Skunk” liquid, which produces a foul smell and has been proven to be an effective yet harmless crowd dispersal means have been prepared, Mor said.
Police have identified four
categories of mass events, ranging from peaceful demonstrations that do not
require any response, to the most severe scenario of sustained disturbances
involving the use of live fire by rioters. Set responses have been drawn up for
Addressing the issue of far- Right “price tag” attacks on
Palestinians and the IDF in the West Bank, Danino said he was highly concerned
by the escalating number of such incidents and their growing severity.
said he was not satisfied with the lack of indictments against “price tag”
suspects, citing limitations on Judea and Samaria Police District forces in the
complex arena of the West Bank. He noted, however, he had assembled a task force
made up of elite officers to track down those behind the attacks.
acts are so dangerous and harmful on a national level,” Danino said. “They can
result in an escalation, and this is the last thing the country
Also on Sunday, officials at the Public Security Ministry
appeared to play down media reports about emergency police powers giving
officers additional authority to deal with rioters.
According to the
reports, emergency measures would include holding suspects detained after
violent disturbances for 48 hours rather than 24 hours before having to bring
them before a judge for a remand hearing, and allowing police to detain suspects
not under arrest for nine hours instead of the current three.
“This is an
internal document passed along to sources in the Justice Ministry for
examination,” a source from the ministry told The Jerusalem Post
. “There is a
gap between the headlines and the substance.”
Police said the measures
were being prepared as one of many tools to deal with the scenario of major
disturbances, stressing that they would have be voted on and approved by the
cabinet before police could use them.