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Israeli forces consider tougher response to West Bank protests

May 22, 2013 1:50 P.M. (Updated: May 24, 2013 9:10 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- An Israeli Knesset security cabinet is scheduled Wednesday to address possible changes to the regulations governing Israeli soldiers operating in the occupied West Bank.

According to the Israeli daily Maariv, three reserve commanders -- Amram Mitzna, Danny Yatom and Uzi Dayan -- have warned that Israel should immediately address the dangerous situation described by soldiers and field commanders in a newspaper investigation last week.

Israeli soldiers and field commanders told Maariv they felt handcuffed and helpless toward Palestinian demonstrations because of regulations restricting their possible response.

Consequently, the security committee of the Knesset is to study the possibility of giving soldiers more leeway when they deal with demonstrators in the West Bank.

The chief of Israeli forces' central command will attend the session along with heads of West Bank settlement councils and chief security officers.

Then, according to Maariv, the security committee will hold a closed-door meeting to be attended by the Israeli minister of defense, Moshe Yaalon. The participants will address possible means to "restore Israeli forces' deterrence and dignity in the West Bank."

Since January 2009, Israeli forces have killed 55 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, according to B'Tselem, while Israeli settlers have killed five.

In January, Salih al-Amarin, 15, from Azza refugee camp, was shot in the head and killed during a protest, and a week earlier, 17-year-old Samir Ahmad Abdul-Rahim was shot four times and killed by Israeli soldiers in Budrus, near Ramallah.

In April, Amer Nassar, 17, was killed instantly when Israeli soldiers shot him during clashes in Tulkarem. Naji al-Balbisi, 18, was also shot and killed by Israeli soldiers during the clashes.
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