Israel reinforces West Bank ahead of Palestinian UN bid
Israel's military beefed up its forces in the West Bank on Friday
ahead of expected Palestinian demonstrations ahead of their
statehood bid at the United Nations on September 23, public radio
Palestinians take part in a candle light rally to show support for
the Palestinian bid for full United Nations membership this month
11:31AM BST 16 Sep 2011
The Telegraph UK
The daily Yediot Aharonot said three battalions of reservists –
some 1,500 personnel – have been mobilised and that units already
operating in the occupied territory have been reinforced.
A fourth reserve battalion has been sent to the West Bank in case
it is needed to replace an active unit that may be redeployed to
the border with Egypt.
General Avi Mizrahi, the commander of central Israel which
includes the West Bank, has issued strict orders to the military
to act with restraint and avoid bloodshed if trouble erupts, the
It said troops in the Palestinian territory have been armed with
anti-riot equipment including tear gas to enable them to control
any protests without having to resort to live ammunition.
The military is also reported to have boosted its presence around
Jewish settlements in the West Bank, both to protect them and to
prevent attacks on Palestinians by extremist settlers.
According to Palestinian security officials, Israeli settlers on
Thursday burned three Palestinian cars near Nablus.
Settlers plan to march on Palestinian cities if the Palestinians
hold protest marches around West Bank settlements during their UN
membership bid, settler leaders said on September 7.
"We will leave our communities and march peacefully towards
Palestinian towns – Hebron, Ramallah or Nablus," said Yaakov Katz,
a far-right member of the Israeli parliament.
Two days later, vandals sprayed graffiti on the walls of a mosque
and a university in Birzeit near Ramallah in attacks suspected to
have been carried out by Israeli settlers.
Palestinian security officials told AFP that "Death to the Arabs"
and slogans insulting the Prophet Mohammed were painted in Hebrew
and that they suspected settlers were to blame.
It was the third time in less than a week that a West Bank mosque
had been the target of vandals.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was to make an address to his
people on Friday ahead of next week's bid for UN membership.