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Army Concerned About Effect of the Unrest on Soldiers

January 22, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Senior officers of the Israel Defense Force are concerned about the long-term effects on soldiers of violent confrontations with Palestinian demonstrators in the Gaza Strip, Haaretz reported Thursday.

They are especially anxious over how the soldiers will react to their new orders, which restrict the use of lethal force but require them to pursue stone-throwers and severely beat them. Many of the Arabs who hurl missiles at troops are teen-aged or younger.

Teams of military psychologists have been sent into the field to investigate how the soldiers are responding. It is feared that some of them will take advantage of the orders to pummel demonstrators and, to release their tensions, apply force where it is necessary.

The IDF has been massively reinforced in the Gaza Strip in recent days and many of the soldiers sent there are from branches of the military that do not perform the tasks of infantrymen.

Several Air Force personnel were seen in the Gaza Strip Wednesday on patrol duties with IDF infantrymen, Haaretz reported.

Gen. Yitzhak Mordechai, commander of the southern region, which includes the Gaza Strip, said Wednesday that there is no central body coordinating the disturbances there, although “residents of the Gaza Strip receive instructions and orders from broadcasts by Radio Monte Carlo and Radio Baghdad.”

According to Haaretz, Mordechai spoke of an Islamic religious revival in the territory, strengthened by events in Lebanon and in Iran. He said Palestinian youths in the Gaza Strip are using mosques as centers for incitement and as refuge from pursuit, because the IDF is under strict orders not to enter mosques.

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