A joint Israeli-Jordanian operation to halt the use of tear gas in the occupied West Bank has failed, as both countries say they will continue to use it as long as it is necessary to prevent the “intimidation of civilians.”
The joint operation, carried out last week by Israeli police and military, was intended to stop Israeli settler violence in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as to prevent Palestinian protesters from disrupting services, but the Israeli military claimed that the “incitement of the Israeli government and the media” prevented the Israeli army from fully enforcing the restrictions.
Jerusalem Post reporter Nima Shaked spoke with the commander of the joint operation and was told that he had been ordered by the Israeli Defense Ministry to use tear gas against protesters.
The Israeli military said the military was “aware of the incident that took place,” and that “the IDF will continue using force against the incitement of violence.”
The commander of Operation Pridefall, Lieutenant Colonel Roni Shafel, was quoted by the official Israeli news agency Maariv as saying that the IDF “took measures in the past to prevent incitement.”
Shafel added that the joint military operation would “not be used against the Palestinian people.”
The Israeli news site Ynet said that in a statement, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that “any action that aims at preventing the incitation of violence against Palestinians will be prohibited by the law of the land, the constitution, and international humanitarian law.”
According to the news site, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered that the Israeli police stop using force, and that he would not use teargas against protesters “for the foreseeable future.”
“There is no need to use such force against Palestinians,” Netanyahu said, as reported by the Israel Hayom news site.
The Palestinian Authority, the West’s official Palestinian opposition, condemned the decision.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the court decision, as did Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu.
The military commander of Pridefall said that the Joint Operational Authority “will not permit the use [of tear gas] against Palestinians.”
According the military commander, the “imminent” military response will be used in order to prevent any “violent actions” against civilians.
Palestinian protesters have been carrying tear gas and water cannons during a sit-in in East Ramallah, the birthplace of the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, in order “to prevent incitements” from “pushing the occupation towards the [Palestinian] people’s lands.”
Tear gas is banned in East Jordan, where Palestinians have been protesting for the past year, and Jordan has responded with the use the water cannon and the tear gas, as have the Israeli authorities.
The Joint Operative Authority has previously ordered Palestinian protesters to disperse the sit-ins by the time they were about to be dispersed by the military.
The military has said that protesters should “go home” when they leave the site.
The sit-downs are a key component of the protests against Israeli settlement expansion in the West and East of the West Banks, where Israeli authorities have built more than 6,000 homes.
The joint military operations came amid a broader crackdown by Israel and the United States against Palestinian protests in East and West Jerusalem, the occupied territories, which Israel considers its capital.
Last month, the U.S. imposed an economic sanctions regime on the Palestinian Authority and three Arab governments in response to their actions in East occupied West Jerusalem.
Israel and the Palestinian authorities in the Palestinian territories have called on the United Nations Security Council to impose an international criminal tribunal against the Israeli occupation and Israeli military in order for the international community to hold accountable Israel for its violations of international law and human rights.