IDF says unrest in West Bank escalated during Gaza operation
Border Guard policemen struggle to keep rioters in check
The unrest that plagued the West Bank over the past several days went largely uncovered by the media due to the hostilities between Israeland Gaza, but Jewish residents say the disturbances were so widespread the security forces in the region had trouble handling them.
In an attempt to document the violence a settler recorded video footage of Palestinians throwing rocks towards Israeli cars stuck in traffic.
Border police officers whose own squad car was gridlocked stood by helplessly, saying there is nothing they could do. Drivers who turned to them for help were told they didn’t have the right equipment to disperse the rioters.
When the civilian behind the camera suggested the officers should fire warning shots in the air, they told him that “weapons are powerless against stones.” A back up squad never arrived, witnesses said.
The clip, which was shot Wednesday near the village of Hizma, shows youths standing on the hills near a road and pelting rocks at the cars bellow.
Sources in the IDF acknowledged that over the past several days unusual agitation was seen in the West Bank, noting that the ceasefire agreement that was reached between Israel and Hamas might not put an end to the violent incidents.
“We’re very concerned over the possibility that this might go on,” a top Central Command official said. “These riots… date back to before Operation Pillar of Defense began.
“We will make every effort to restore the calm in the region,” he added.
Benny Katzover, a leader in the settler community, said the video clip “exposes the many faces of the Israel Police and the consideration that the security forces take into account when they are required to act against Arabs.”
“It so humiliating to stand in traffic and be hit by stones without the ability to take action.”
A Border Guard spokesperson said in response that the cops in question were administrative officers who were not equipped to deal with such incidents.
“The officers called in combat squads who provided the appropriate operative response and dispersed the rioters,” he said.
View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4310788,00.html