Israel divided on riot warnings

The Israeli leadership is divided over the severity of the violence expected next month when the Palestinians are planning to seek an independent state at the United Nations.

The leaders of the Palestinian Authority have called upon the Palestinian public to participate in non-violent demonstrations during the UN vote at the end of September.

At the same time, they have directed the Palestinian security apparatus to ensure that these demonstrations take place within the cities and do not spread out into areas under Israeli control. Senior IDF officers serving in the West Bank have received assurances from their Palestinian counterparts that order would be maintained.

Israeli security services have been preparing for widespread clashes for the past few months, and have drawn up plans to mobilise thousands of extra soldiers and police officers towards the end of September.

Anti-riot equipment has been stockpiled and the IDF has purchased new equipment worth £13 million.

However, according to an intelligence report presented last week to the Knesset Foreign and Defence Affairs Committee (FDAC), the Palestinians will refrain from widespread violence and make do with relatively quiet rallies. Despite this report, FADC Chairman MK Shaul Mofaz, a former defence minister and IDF chief of staff, said that there was a "high probability that the IDF will have to call up reserves".

Also within the cabinet, opposing voices could be heard. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman accused the PA on Sunday of "planning unprecedented violence", and called upon Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cut off all ties with the Authority.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs, Moshe Yaalon, played down the concerns, saying that the Palestinians have no interest now in violence. "I don't think anything out of the ordinary will happen," he said.

    Last updated: 1:03pm, August 11 2011