Sept. 15 - Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank simulate a Palestinian attack, to prepare for violence they say will accompany the Palestinian statehood bid later this month. Simon Hanna reports.
This may look like a violent clash between Israelis and Palestinians - in actual fact, everyone here is a Jewish settler. Dozens of students from Kiryat Arba dressed up as Palestinian infiltrators, simulating an attack on the settlement. The exercise was part of a security drill, in preparation for what these settlers say is expected Palestinian violence after a planned statehood bid later this month. (SOUNDBITE) (Hebrew) SETTLER YOUTH SHUVAL YAMIN: "We are holding a mock drill preparing for what is about to happen, the violence by the Arabs after their U.N. announcement." Israeli security forces regularly train settler 'emergency response teams', who are often the first to arrive at violent scenes. The Israeli army also provides these teams with weapons. Tension is on the rise between West Bank settlers and Palestinians. In the village of Beit Foreek, settlers destroyed three Palestinian owned cars, as part of a response to curbs on building settlements on occupied territory. A spokesperson for human rights group B'Tselem, said that such vandalism has been on the rise. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SPOKESPERSON FOR HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP B'TSELEM, SARIT MICHAELI: "In the past ten days since the demolition of homes in the settlement of Migron, we have witnessed a sharp increase in the number of attacks by settlers against Palestinian property and acts of vandalism. We've seen an attempt to torch a mosque, we've seen a lot of racist graffiti, and several cars that have been burnt. " While some may be expecting Palestine's bid for United Nations General Assembly recognition to end in bloodshed, it is unclear what the outcome will be. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has denied seeking violence, and says that negotiations with Israel will continue regardless of the outcome at the U.N.. Simon Hanna, Reuters.