IDF sources defend restraint against rock throwers

IDF sources defended the conduct of infantry soldiers caught up in rioting and rock throwing in the West Bank last week in Hebron and Kadum. In Hebron, soldiers employed riot dispersal means against a rock-throwing mob of 250 Palestinians before leaving the area, while in Kadum, soldiers retreated from a crowd throwing a hail of rocks.
Responding to criticisms that the rules of engagement for soldiers are unclear, and that soldiers are frightened to take assertive action for fear of ending up in court, the sources dismissed the charges, saying that a detailed document instructing soldiers on how to respond to violent disturbances had been issued to field commanders in March.
"The document tells them not to open fire against rock throwers on the one hand. On the other, if they see a massive attack forming, or a large [concrete] block about to be thrown on top of a soldier, they can take action to stop this. They need to identify an immediate danger before opening fire to prevent it," one source said.
Army sources said the fact that Palestinian police confronted an IDF patrol is a worrying development.
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