IDF reinforces West Bank units ahead of Palestinian 'day of rage'

By Anshel Pfeffer, May 12, 2011

The IDF is preparing for every eventuality during the Palestinian "days of rage" over the weekend and reinforcing its units accordingly.

While preparing for a worst-case scenario, the army believes that the Palestinian security forces will "contain" the demonstrations and prevent them from clashing with Israeli troops.

Various Palestinian organisations have called for major demonstrations this weekend to coincide with the anniversary of Israel's foundation on Sunday.

While the Palestinian Authority has called for "peaceful" demonstrations, some grassroots groups have tried to use Facebook and other social media networks to call for a "third Intifada".

In recent meetings with Palestinian security chiefs, the IDF has received an assurance that demonstrations and marches will not be allowed to get out of hand or come into close contact with Israeli forces, but the army is leaving nothing to chance. The reinforcements' main duty will be to block any attempt of demonstrators to invade Jewish settlements or army bases in the West Bank, and to do so with a minimum of casualties so as not to supply "a spark" that will cause a further escalation.

The assessment of both IDF Military Intelligence and the Shin Bet is that the Palestinian Authority is serious about not letting the demonstrations get out of hand, but that the events of this weekend may prove to be a "dress rehearsal" for what may happen towards the end of the year after the Palestinians try to gain UN recognition for an independent state.

    Last updated: 3:39pm, May 12 2011