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Gaza: Israeli Military Arming, Training Vigilantes

Israeli Military Arming, Training Vigilantes To Put Down Palestinians: What Will UN Do About It?

Report – By Julie Webb-Pullman In Gaza

In what can be interpreted as a clear admission that Israeli state institutions are not up to the task, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) has admitted it is training settlers in occupied Palestinian territory, and arming them with stun grenades, tear gas, and other weaponry “to handle any unrest which breaks out during the UN campaign.” (1)

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported the information is contained in a military document in their possession. (2)

The training of civilian vigilantes by the Israeli state to deal with proposed peaceful Palestinian protests within their own territory is not only an excess of florid paranoia, but an unmistakable sign to the international community that the Israeli government has no faith in the state's organs' ability to maintain the peace - either within its own territory, or that which it illegally occupies.

It also signals a cynical move to the tactics more commonly found in Latin America, where governments arm and train civilians to do their dirty work for them, in an attempt to avoid criminal and moral sanctions after the fact, given that non-state forces commit the atrocities.

If the ‘intelligence’ on which the IDF is relying to justify its fear of ‘unrest’ is as reliable as that which led it to blame Gaza for the Eilat attacks, the perpetrators of which to date have all been identified as Egyptian citizens, then we have cause to seriously question the basis for the moves.

If the dramatic increase in 2011 in the number of attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and their property - 139 attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank and the destruction of over 3,600 olive trees and vineyards documented in June alone – we have cause to seriously question the sagacity of trusting such a group with the task of maintaining public order, not to mention arming them with lethal weapons to do so.

If we consider that 90% of Israeli police investigations into Israeli settler crimes fail to lead to a prosecution, as reported in Ma'an, we have cause to seriously question the ability of Israeli institutions to guarantee the rule of law to even a minimal standard in the past, or its ability to do so in the future.

In the absence of intelligence, and in the presence of an implied admission – and considerable evidence for – the Israeli state’s inability to operate the necessary civil, military and political institutions necessary to the proper functioning of a state, or to maintain public order, it is clear that immediate international peace-keeping intervention is necessary, to protect Palestinians from what threatens to be a failed-state-sponsored blood-bath.

The international community, including the United Nations, must therefore take immediate action to guarantee the safety of Palestinian civilians from both the IDF and its settler goon-squads and their clear intent to wreak havoc in Palestinian territories in the coming weeks.

(1) http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=416967

(2) http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/idf-training-israeli-settlers-ahead-of-mass-disorder-expected-in-september-1.381421

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Julie Webb-Pullman (click to view previous articles) is a New Zealand based freelance writer who has reported for Scoop since 2003. She recently managed to get into Gaza during a brief period when the Rafah Gate was open.

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