Tourists, mostly American, visiting Israel’s Gush Etzion settlement in the West Bank territory have a controversial attraction available to them, Reuters reports: a “counter-terror boot camp” offering participants a two-hour training in how to respond to a terrorist attack in a marketplace. Tourists are armed with mock weapons which they use to play out intense hypothetical scenarios in the experience arranged by a company called Caliber 3, which was founded by an officer in the Israeli army reserves:
Taking in the scene of a simulated fruit market in an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, a group of tourists ponders whether a poster-size figure of an Arab man holding a cellphone is a threat and should be shot. […] Admission includes watching former Israeli commandos take down an “attacker” and other means to thwart assaults, including the use of an attack dog. Adults can shoot live rounds at a firing range. [Reuters]
While organizers say the training offers valuable information and an engaging experience, the boot camp has proven contentious not only for its content, because it is organized on land Palestinians want for their own, independent state. “The participation of tourists in training in these camps built on occupied Palestinian land means that they support the occupation and we ask them to stop it,” said Mayor Yasser Sobih of a nearby Palestinian town caleld al-Khader.
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