IDF-PA Security Summit Ahead of Statehood Bid

September 20, 2011  

Civil Administration officials and senior IDF Central Command officers met Tuesday with security officials from the Palestinian Authority amid rising tensions over the PA statehood bid at the United Nations.

A security official close to the talks told the Hebrew-language Walla! the purpose of the meeting was to improve communication and prevent “errors” if, as expected, widespread violence erupts.

IDF commanders reportedly told PA brigade commanders, “We are against violence and will do everything to prevent violence.”

Officers from both sides agreed to successive meetings and phone conferences during the next few days to raise concerns and coordinate the operations area.

Violence and confrontations originating from PA enclaves in Judea and Samaria has already begun ahead of Friday’s bid, underscoring concerns mass rallies planned by Ramallah may turn violent.

On Sunday, a convoy of 40-50 vehicles packed with Arabs waving PA flags drove towards the Jewish community of Nehagot, as though planning to enter, was not confronted by soldiers watching the community.

However, a fire-bombing attack at Itamar where Arabs set fire to adjacent fields resulted in a large-scale military reaction on Monday, marking the high-tensions in play. Also on Monday, soldiers intercepted dozens of Arabs who were marching on Yitzar.

The contradictory response from commanders on the ground in Judea and Samaria has raised the eyebrows of the Jewish residents they are supposed to protect, and echo complaints by reservists in recent days their instructions are “unclear.”

The IDF has called up reservists with experience in Judea and Samaria in recent weeks to bolster its forces, and has created a mobile command center to reduce response times in the event of violence.

Additionally, the Central Command announced it plans to raise its alert level at noon on Wednesday, at which point senior commanders say the order will be issued to begin actively confronting potential incursions to Jewish communities.

Commanders say, however, they have restricted the rules of engagement and crowd-control measures for the tense weeks ahead in the hopes of avoiding deaths that could ignite mass unrest.

That has raised concerns among many Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria that the IDF is placing politics over protection – and that security officials are putting their homes and families in peril.


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