Army trains Jewish settlers ahead of Palestinian U.N. bid

08/30/2011 08:53

Daily Star:  JERUSALEM: The Israeli army is training Jewish settlers in the West Bank to repel any violent protests in the territories when the Palestinians try to secure U.N. membership next month, the military said.

Asked to confirm a report in Haaretz newspaper, the army issued a written statement saying it was in the process of training settlement response teams, "to deal with any possible scenario."

But it declined to give details on "operational preparedness."

Haaretz said the military had been training settlement security chiefs and their teams and giving them tear gas and stun grenades to equip them to handle any unrest which breaks out during the U.N. campaign.

Most settlers already have assault rifles or pistols.

"There is also a decision, in principle, to equip the chief security officers of settlements with the means for dispersing demonstrations," the paper said, citing a document in its possession. "These would include tear gas and stun grenades."

In a separate report, the Walla news website said there had been a marked increase in settlers buying attack dogs ahead of September, when the Palestinians say they are planning a series of mass marches and non-violent demonstrations.

Mike Gusovsky, who runs the Civilian Canine Battalion which trains and supplies such dogs, told the website his company had seen "a sharp rise in requests” – particularly since the murder of a family in the nearby Itamar settlement in February, and in anticipation of the unrest in September.

"After that incident and now, before September, people haven’t stopped calling us to ask for dogs," said Gusovsky, who lives in the hardline Tapuah settlement near the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

Company officials told Walla there were 250 guard dogs in the various settlements.

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(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::


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