Israeli settlers living in violation of international law in the West Bank have been issued stun grenades and tear gas by the Israeli military, in preparation for anticipated protests by Palestinians following the UN statehood declaration later this month.The Israeli military has codenamed the planned attack on Palestinians ‘Operation Summer Seeds’, which sounds much like the 2006 ‘Operation Summer Rains’ in which 40,000 sound grenades and live missiles were dropped on the Gaza Strip over the course of the summer.
According to an internal Israeli government document leaked to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Israeli troops distributed maps with red lines drawn on them around Israeli settlements in the West Bank, with instructions to soldiers that if Palestinian protesters get too close to the settlements, they should be shot in the legs.
The instructions do not differentiate between non-violent demonstrations by Palestinians and violent attacks by Palestinians, instead implying that non-violent demonstrators would be subjected to being shot in the legs if they cross a ‘line’ whose location has not been shared with any Palestinians.
Security guards hired by Israeli settlements in the West Bank have attended trainings held by the Israeli military in which they learned methods of subduing protests using both non-lethal and lethal violence. Engaging with Palestinian protesters outside of settlement boundaries is beyond the purview of settlement security guards, but the Israeli military has authorized the guards to act as a branch of the military during any upcoming protests.
The leaked document also includes a statement by the Israeli military that they are making extensive preparations ‘to deal with incidents near the fences and the borders of the state of Israel.’ Although the state of Israel has never defined its borders since its creation in 1948, the reference to ‘borders’ appears to refer to the edges of Israeli settlements, built on annexed Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.