Israel Police Prepare for Reactions at Home

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israel has finished preparations for possible repercussions at home to the Palestinian Authority's bid for unilateral statehood at the United Nations Friday.

The Defense Ministry opened a situation room on Tuesday to monitor events countrywide.

Over the weekend, Israel police wrapped up a week-long emergency response exercise. Drills ranged from monitoring peaceful demonstrations to controlling rioting and rock throwing, stabbing attempts or even firearms, pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails, or other explosive devices.

Non-lethal crowd control methods include tear gas, "skunk" liquid, and ear-splitting emissions from a loudspeaker.

Beefed up units of riot police -- 7,400 officers -- have been deployed to 16 command centers throughout the country. Another 1,500 are on standby.

Mark Regev, spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office, told reporters Tuesday morning the Palestinian Authority is "throwing the dice because no one knows exactly how things will turn out at the U.N."

Regev said Israel will respond "to events that happen" because, he said, no one knows how Friday's events in New York will affect "matters here on the ground."

"Israeli security services have prepared and are preparing for different scenarios," he said, calling Fatah's appeal for mass demonstrations a "high risk strategy."

Last week, Fatah spokesman Osama Qawassmeh told Palestinian Arabs to take to the streets en masse on Sept. 21 because Abbas was "carrying with him the trusteeship of the refugees, Jerusalem, martyrs, prisoners, and the aspirations of our people to achieve freedom and independence."

Regev said the call for mass demonstrations was "their choice, not ours," but Israel sees the P.A. "as responsible for what happens."

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