As September draws nearer, the Israel Defense Forces has been conducting drills in order to contend with the possibility of a mass civilian uprising in the West Bank in the wake of the Palestinian bid to seek unilateral recognition in the United Nations.
"A non-violent protest of 4,000 people or more, even if they only march to a checkpoint or a settlement, and especially if the Palestinian police does not deter them, will be unstoppable," one IDF officer claims. "Such a great number of determined people cannot be stopped by tear gas and rubber bullets."
Another high ranking IDF official serving in the territories claimed that "if we are to face protests similar to those in Egypt or Tunisia, we will not be able to do a thing."
On Tuesday, the Central Command completed its General Staff workshop which included all company officers and higher-ranking officials in both regular and reserve service who are set to serve in the West Bank by the end of the year. The officers attended lectures on dealing effectively with disorderly conduct and viewed presentations on protest-dispersal methods by both IDF and border police.
"At the end of the day, the decision is in the hands of the political echelon," claims another commander, "it is fairly obvious that if there will be no progress on peace talks, the Palestinian police with whom we work very closely to prevent infiltrations will lose their patience."
Central Command officials said Tuesday that "the IDF does have ways of dealing with large-scale protests. First of all, we have intelligence, and obviously these protests take quite a while to organize. With intelligence and the proper preparation, it is possible to gather large forces against the protests in a way that will cause minimal damage."
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