Kibbutz Ramat Hakovesh - Nir Keidar - September 2011
The preparation room on Kibbutz Ramat Hakovesh. Photo by Nir Keidar
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Police and Border Police forces have been preparing the communities along the Green Line - Israel's pre-1967 borders - in the past months for possible clashes with Palestinians following a UN declaration of Palestinian statehood.

The Police and Border Patrol have put together various scenarios of rioting either of West Bank Palestinians across the Green Line or in Israeli-Arab communities. The most extreme scenario envisions a Palestinian or Israeli-Arab crowd descending on one of the small seam line moshavim or kibbutzim.

On the basis of this scenario, the Border Police has been bolstering armed civilian squads already operating in seam line communities and fixing their electric gates and fences.

"We've given the squads training courses to make sure they are ready for any possibility," says Border Police Chief Inspector Yossi Agniyahu, who is in charge of the Kfar Sava region.

"We made sure they check their equipment and replace it if necessary, and coordinate their activities with each other. We cannot ignore what is happening around us. We made them part of the process we in the Border Police are undergoing. At the same time it's important not to create panic but to raise the level of alertness and vigilance," he says.

One council had its security squad's old rifles replaced with short-barrel M16 rifles. A kibbutz in the Sharon area formed a new squad, which the Border Police armed with rifles. Some communities bought weapons at their own expense for their security squads.

"Recently the squads took part in drills with our regular companies, to practice working together in real time if we have to," Agniyahu says.

"The squads have the advantage of being readily available in their communities [in case anything happens] and they are committed to their families."

The Border Police has been operating civilian squads consisting of combat-unit veterans in seam line communities for years. Due to these veterans' military training and combat experience, they serve as on-call reserve units.

The Border Police trained these squads to act against crime - mainly theft and rural transgressions - as a means of keeping the troops active and in form.

In recent months the squads have been training to deal with possible riots. A shooting and combat drill in a built-up area, simulating the penetration of a terrorist into the community, is to be held in the central region today.

"These squads have achieved amazing results in preventing criminal activity in their communities," Agniyahu says.

"After all, the kibbutzim and moshavim have veterans of the best elite IDF commando units," he says.

One civilian squad in a kibbutz close to the seam line in the Sharon region consists almost entirely of elite-commando unit veterans.

"There is no doubt we have top quality fighters in the community who could put an end to any incident before the regular forces even get here," a border community security officer says.

"Recently we carried out a number of drills and had meetings with Border Police officers who outlined all the possible scenarios to the squad members," he says.

The Border Police's central district consists of 28 rural seam line communities along the Green Line, each operating a 15-20 strong squad.

The Border Police have offered all the communities help in beefing up their squads, training them or beefing up their arms supply.