The Israeli army has been busy training local security teams in the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria (Jewish settlements) for a possible onslaught of violent Palestinian demonstrators.
Israel fears that following the Palestinian Authority's September 20 bid at the United Nations to secure recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria (the so-called "West Bank"), Palestinian mobs will march on any Jews they see as "invaders" in that new state.
In fact, that is precisely what Palestinian leaders are telling the public to do.
"The appeal to the UN is a battle for all Palestinians, and in order to succeed, it needs millions to pour into streets," Palestinian official Yasser Abed Rabbo told the Associated Press following a Palestinian Authority vote endorsing a mass protest march on Israel.
Rabbo and other Palestinian leaders insist the protests will be peaceful, but Israeli officials noted that more often than not the Palestinians' definition of "peaceful" does not match Israel's.
And even if the intention truly was for a peaceful march, the Israelis say that having tens or hundreds of thousands of Palestinians march on Israeli civilian neighborhoods is a situation that can quickly spiral out of control.
While Jerusalem is certain to be a primary target of such a march, it is pretty heavily barricaded from the north and east, the directions from which the Palestinian protestors would be coming.
But the Jewish settlements make much softer targets.
That's why the IDF, which will preoccupied defending the northern neighborhoods of Jerusalem and the portion of the "Green Line" separating the Tel Aviv metropolitan area from the West Bank, is busy preparing the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria to defend themselves.
Those preparations include unspecified drills on how to handle various situations, including a large Palestinian mob beseiging the gates of a small Jewish community.
Jewish settler leaders stressed that the training exercises do not constitute the formation of a new Jewish militia, noting that these are pre-existing local security teams, the members of which are, like all Israelis, also members of the IDF reserve forces.
Even with all the preparations, the situation can still devolve into chaos and violence at a moment's notice. If armed Palestinian elements open fire from among the protestors, or a Palestinian mob manages to break into a Jewish community, Israeli security forces will be obliged to use deadly force in defense of local men, women and children.
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