ASSOCIATED PRESS |  Foxnews

Israeli forces are seeking to prevent bloodshed when Palestinians march in support of a statehood drive this month, but they are preparing for worst-case scenarios, even authorizing West Bank settlers to shoot at Palestinians who approach their communities.

Palestinians say the rallies will be peaceful — a view shared by Israel’s own security assessments — and will steer clear of any settlements. Yet, the combustible atmosphere and the long and deadly history of Israeli-Palestinian violence are raising the specter that events might spin out of control.

For the Palestinians, the mass marches are intended to boost their campaign to get the U.N. to recognize an independent state, a strategy they are trying because negotiations aimed at bringing about a state through a peace deal with Israel have been stalled for two years.

Settlers living on land the Palestinians want for their future state have long been targets for militant attacks; likewise, some settlers have attacked Palestinian civilians. The fear among settlers now is that even unarmed crowds — if large enough — could overrun their communities.

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