The sources said the exercises marked a new tougher policy with Jewish
protesters, particularly those who live in communities deemed illegal over
the last five years. They said the simulations envisioned joint Army and
police operations to demolish illegal communities and prevent
The policy has been ordered by Defense Minister Ehud Barak amid U.S.
pressure to demolish scores of Jewish communities in the West Bank. The
sources said Barak has won the cooperation of the new military chief of
staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz. In contrast, Gantz's predecessor, Gabi
said to have opposed direct Army operations against Jews.
On March 1, Israeli police, backed by Army officers, opened fire on
Jewish residents of the illegal community of Gilad's Farm near Nablus. For
the first time, police, who acknowledged they were not in mortal danger, used
plastic and rubber bullets against Jews who resisted demolition of their
On March 6, a police investigation team acknowledged that plastic and
rubber bullets were fired toward Gilad residents. One weapon was identified
as the FN303, described as a "less-lethal automatic launcher" and developed
by Belgium's FN Herstal. Police said the weapon has been used against Arab
"The FN303 was used at two points at which stones and glass bottles were
thrown at forces while they attempted to make arrests," the police panel
said. "From the investigation of the officers who used the weapon, it was
determined that they were properly trained and skilled and flawlessly
carried out their work."
The Israeli daily Makor Rishon reported that reserve soldiers underwent
what was described as psychological training for the use of live fire
against West Bank Jews, many of whom serve in combat units. In one scenario,
a Jewish man threatens to knife a soldier unless he is allowed to pass a
military roadblock to arrive home in time for the Sabbath.
The scenario was said to end with the Jewish motorist being shot and
killed. Makor said the training, which sparked objections by soldiers and
junior officers, was devised by an unidentified Army colonel in the Carmeli
"Scenarios are frequently intentionally exaggerated in order to prepare
the commanders so that they can deal with complicated situations," an Army