Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Report: Israel arming, training settlers

An armed Israeli settler (file photo)

Source: Press TV

The Israeli regime plans to arm and train settlers in the occupied West Bank to confront Palestinians as the Palestinian Authority (PA) intends to seek UN membership in September, reports say.

According to a document acquired by Israeli Haaretz newspaper, the army has distributed tear gas and stun grenades among settlers to disperse Palestinian demonstrators, the Israeli newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The Israeli military has also been providing special training to settlement security chiefs and their teams at army bases and most settlers already have assault rifles and pistols, the report said.

The move is based on the army's assumption that a Palestinian declaration of independence will lead to public uprisings “which will mainly include mass disorder.”

According to an Israeli army spokesman, the army “is holding an ongoing professional dialogue with elements in the settlement leadership … for possible scenarios. "The Central Command has recently completed much training for the emergency response squads, and this training is ongoing.”

The spokesman, however, refused to go into the details on operational readiness.

The army has specified two “virtual lines,” for each of the settlements close to Palestinian villages.

If Palestinian demonstrators cross the first line, they will be met with tear gas and if they cross the second line they will be shot in the leg, the report says.

Israeli officials have warned that the stepped-up readiness will last for at least several weeks.

The Palestinian Authority has declared September 20 as the date when it would apply for the United Nations' recognition of Palestine as an independent state.

More than 100 countries have so far officially recognized Palestine as a sovereign state based on the 1967 borders, the boundaries that existed before Israel captured and annexed East al-Quds (Jerusalem), the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Foreign Ministry sources estimate that 130-140 countries will vote in favor of the Palestinians.

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