Tourists train at Israeli 'counter-terrorism boot camp'

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.

The aim of the mock scenario is to teach rapt foreign visitors how to deal with an attack on a market. It is part of a counter-terrorism “boot camp” organized by Caliber 3, a company set up by a colonel in the Israeli army reserves.

Entrance to the gated compound in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc – built on land the Palestinians want for their own state – costs $115 for adults and $85 for children.

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.

While most of those signing up are American visitors, there have also been tourists from China, Japan, India and South America, keen to experience Israeli-style security training in an attraction condemned by the Palestinian mayor of the nearby town and an anti-settlement group.

The facility opened in 2003, running courses for security guards during a Palestinian uprising that included suicide bombings and shooting attacks and which was met by Israeli military operations across the West Bank. After the intifada subsided, tourist visits began in 2009.

The man in charge, Colonel Sharon Gat, said staff stressed the importance of vigilance and caution. The Arab man depicted on his cellphone was deemed innocent by the instructors, so the target did not end up being shot. (Reuters)

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Tourists train at Israeli ‘counter-terrorism boot camp’

A group of tourists take part in a two hour “boot camp” experience, at “Caliber 3 Israeli Counter Terror and Security Academy ” in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank July 13, 2017. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)

Tourists train at Israeli ‘counter-terrorism boot camp’

A tourist looks at posters placed near shooting targets during a two hour “boot camp” experience, at “Caliber 3 Israeli Counter Terror and Security Academy” in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank July 13, 2017. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)

Tourists train at Israeli ‘counter-terrorism boot camp’

An Israeli instructor speaks to children from overseas holding wooden cut-out rifles as they take part in a two hour “boot camp” experience, at “Caliber 3 Israeli Counter Terror and Security Academy” in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank July 13, 2017. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)

Tourists train at Israeli ‘counter-terrorism boot camp’

A tourist takes part in a two hour “boot camp” experience, at “Caliber 3 Israeli Counter Terror and Security Academy ” in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank July 13, 2017. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)

Tourists train at Israeli ‘counter-terrorism boot camp’

An Israeli instructor guides a tourist as she fires a rifle during a two hour “boot camp” experience, at “Caliber 3 Israeli Counter Terror and Security Academy” in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank July 13, 2017. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)

Tourists train at Israeli ‘counter-terrorism boot camp’

A tourist takes part in a two hour “boot camp” experience, at “Caliber 3 Israeli Counter Terror and Security Academy” in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank July 13, 2017. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)

Tourists train at Israeli ‘counter-terrorism boot camp’

A tourist stands behind a booth as he takes part in a two hour “boot camp” experience, at “Caliber 3 Israeli Counter Terror and Security Academy ” in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank July 13, 2017. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)

Tourists train at Israeli ‘counter-terrorism boot camp’

A group of tourists listen to an instructor during a two hour “boot camp” experience, at “Caliber 3 Israeli Counter Terror and Security Academy ” in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank July 13, 2017. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)

Tourists train at Israeli ‘counter-terrorism boot camp’

A group of tourists take part in a two hour “boot camp” experience, at “Caliber 3 Israeli Counter Terror and Security Academy” in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank July 13, 2017. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)

Tourists train at Israeli ‘counter-terrorism boot camp’

A tourist carries a poster as he takes part in a two hour “boot camp” experience, at “Caliber 3 Israeli Counter Terror and Security Academy” in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank July 13, 2017. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)

Tourists train at Israeli ‘counter-terrorism boot camp’

An Israeli flag and wooden cut-out rifles are seen during a two hour “boot camp” experience, at “Caliber 3 Israeli Counter Terror and Security Academy ” in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank July 13, 2017. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)

Tourists train at Israeli ‘counter-terrorism boot camp’

An Israeli instructor walks near tourists as they take part in a two hour “boot camp” experience, at “Caliber 3 Israeli Counter Terror and Security Academy” in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank July 13, 2017. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)

Tourists train at Israeli ‘counter-terrorism boot camp’

A group of tourists takes part in a two hour “boot camp” experience, at “Caliber 3 Israeli Counter Terror and Security Academy” in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank July 13, 2017. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)

Tourists train at Israeli ‘counter-terrorism boot camp’

An Israeli instructor hangs up balloons on shooting targets as a group of tourists take part in a two hour “boot camp” experience, at “Caliber 3 Israeli Counter Terror and Security Academy” in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank July 13, 2017. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)

Tourists train at Israeli ‘counter-terrorism boot camp’

A group of tourists do push-ups as they take part in a two hour “boot camp” experience, at “Caliber 3 Israeli Counter Terror and Security Academy” in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank July 13, 2017. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)

Tourists train at Israeli ‘counter-terrorism boot camp’

A group of tourists watch as Israeli instructors demonstrate during a two hour “boot camp” experience, at “Caliber 3 Israeli Counter Terror and Security Academy” in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank July 13, 2017. (Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters)

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