Non-lethal systemsIsraeli military develops new doctrine for dealing with civil unrest

Published 31 August 2011

The Israeli military is preparing for massive demonstrations by Palestinians in the West Bank and along Israel’s borders with neighboring Arab states — demonstrations which will follow the 20 September debate in the UN about whether to recognize Palestine as a state; Israeli snipers will be equipped with new laser finders so they can shoot at the feet of demonstrators, and the military has acquire a variety of non-lethal systems to help disperse unruly crowds

Israel anticipates unrest with Palestinian UN application // Source:

On 20 September, the Palestinians are going to apply to the UN for recognition of a Palestinian state and for membership of that state in the UN. Israel is preparing for large-scale demonstrations by Palestinians in the West Bank – but also in areas not under Israel control.

In mid-May and early June, Palestinian in Syria and Lebanon rushed the Israeli border fence, and about 20 or so were killed and many injured by Israeli soldiers trying to stop them from breaching the fence. There was a consensus in Israel that the country needed better, and more suitable, weapons to deal with civil unrest.

The Jerusalem Post reports that in anticipation of violent demonstrations in the wake of the UN vote, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) has developed a new operational doctrine for snipers using laser designators to ensure accurate hits.

The new doctrine was developed by the Paratroop Brigade, which was among the forces that stopped hundreds of people from crossing into Israel from Syria in early June during the last round of protests there. that ended with more than 20 dead, according to the Syrian press. Israel says the number of dead was significantly lower.

The doctrine includes the use of the Amit targeting system, which was developed by Elbit Systems and became operational in the IDF following Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in 2009.

The Amit weighs less than two kilograms., including an eight-hour rechargeable battery, and enables an operator to locate targets up to a kilometer away, under all weather conditions.

The Post notes that the IDF tested the Amit’s thermal-imaging capabilities during Cast Lead, distributing flags coated in a special chemical, detectable only by the Amit, among units in order to avoid friendly-fire incidents.

In addition to deploying the Amit system, the IDF has also acquired new non-lethal weapons that will help disperse large demonstrations and marches that could break out in the West Bank and along Israel’s borders in the north.

Last month, the IDF began distributing a new receiver for the standard-issue M-16 semi-automatic rifle that enables it to shoot a 0.22 mm round instead of the usual 5.56 mm bullet. The smaller rounds are not as lethal when fired from a distance.

The IDF has also purchased impact rounds for snipers for use with Remington M-24 7.62 mm rifles. Impact rounds are usually made of non-lead materials and do not penetrate the skin but deal a painful blow.