IDF document threatens violence against settlers

Monday, December 21, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff  

Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria and conservative Israelis across the country were dismayed last week when the media reveal a military document recommending the use of "paralyzing force" against those who violate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's partial 10-month settlement freeze.

Netanyahu implemented the freeze in line with Arab and international demands, though the Palestinians have rejected the gesture and still refuse to return to the negotiating table.

Arguing that the freeze was a surrender to world pressure, could never result in true peace with an intractable enemy and would become permanent in the eyes of Israel's detractors, many settlers vowed to continue building in violation of the ban.

Most hoped that Netanyahu, unlike former prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert, would not use brutal force against those practicing civil disobedience.

But at the weekend, Defense Minister Ehud Barak suggested that military force would indeed be used if Jewish settlers defy the government's decision.

"Settlement leaders and settlers are required only to heed the government's decision to impose a moratorium for a given period of time on new construction," read a statement issued by Barak's office. "This way, there will be no reason to use force or create friction with security forces... We expect settler leaders to heed government decisions and allow the IDF to do what it was established to do - ensure readiness for war."

A settler activist speaking to Ha'aretz responded to the document and Barak's warning by saying "surprises" were being prepared for security forces sent to enforce the settlement freeze.

"We are preparing a series of surprises and events that [the security forces] won't be prepared for," he said.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority is doing its part to aid the settlement freeze by forbidding Arabs living under its jurisdiction to do construction work for Jewish contractors, according to Israel National News.

The PA is desperately looking for alternative jobs for these laborers, and one of the top options is recruiting them into the PA paramilitary force, which recently received a large infusion of US taxpayers' dollars.

However, it will be difficult to replace Jewish construction as a job option. The explosive growth of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria has long provided a steady source of work for thousands of Palestinian Arabs.

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