WATCH: Israeli army training tourists to shoot Palestinians

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In the occupied West Bank, specifically in the settlement of Gush Etzion, a group of Israeli army instructors are running an academy which offers tourists (for the most part of Jewish decent) firearm training classes, yet the academy uses the photos of Palestinians as their targets during their shooting lessons.

In this light, upon arriving to a location adjacent to a local market a group of tourists were assessing whether to shoot an Arab man carrying a mobile phone since they were formed to evidently perceive him as an imminent threat that had to be neutralized, as in the posters used during the shooting training sessions.

The aim of this visual stimulation is to train foreign visitors to handle attacks if they happen to occur in a market place. This, in turn, comes within the context of training activities at a camp instituted to counter “Palestinian” attacks. These training activities are organized by “Caliber 3,” a leading counter-terror training and security academy first founded by a Colonel in the IDF’s reserve forces.

The entry price to the Camp in the Gush Etzion settlement (formerly built on Palestinian land) is $115 for adults and $85 for children.

It includes attending the simulations of attacks where Israeli commandos are neutralizing an “attacker.” A range of techniques are used including trained dogs. Adults are also permitted to use guns and fire within a shooting range.

Although most of those who registered to enter the camp were American visitors, there were also tourists from China, Japan, India and South America. These visitors also attended these Israeli-neutralizing training activities. These actions were vehemently denounced by the Palestinian mayor of the nearby town of Khader and the anti-settlement group as it encourages and justifies the numerous executions carried out on the ground in the West Bank on daily basis.

The facility was opened in 2003 and training sessions were first instituted to form security guards during the Palestinian uprising, which entailed bombings and shootings to which the Israeli army responded with brutal operations carried out throughout the West Bank.

After the uprising receded, tourist visits began in 2009.

The officer in charge of the site, Colonel Sharon Gatt, argued that the camp instructors stressed the importance of caution and attention. Accordingly, the trainees near the market place observed the Arab man, who appeared with his mobile phone, and concluded he was innocent. Thus, they ended up not shooting at the target.
However, Yasser Sobhi, the mayor of the neighboring town of Khader, condemned the Israeli project.

He declared to Reuters “the participation of tourists in training camps built on occupied Palestinian land was synonymous to their support of the Israeli occupation, and we ask them to stop”.

He added that the “The settlers are not only training tourists to use weapons, but they instill in them a fear of visiting Palestinian territories. They do not only train tourists but also train the settlers to use firearms as well. “

On the other hand, Yotam Jacob criticized the anti-settlement Peace Now campaign as “an inappropriate and indecent way to exploit the Arab-Israeli conflict in order to make profit”.

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