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Wednesday, June 15, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Israeli military reviewing procedures for soldiers who oppose West Bank demolition operations

TEL AVIV — Soldiers have begun to disrupt the demolition of Jewish homes in the West Bank.


Military sources reported at least two incidents over the last month in which soldiers and commanders hampered operations against Jewish residents in the West Bank, Middle East Newsline reported. They said the incidents have prompted a review within the General Staff of the prospect that soldiers would refuse orders during a major demolition campaign demanded by the United States.

"There is a new policy that the military would participate in operations against Jewish outposts," a military source said.

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The commander of Army forces in the West Bank, Brig. Gen. Nitzan Alon, has relayed an order to identify soldiers and officers suspected of opposing the government campaign to demolish scores of Jewish communities. In his written order, Alon said these soldiers could "harm state security."

Earlier this year, the military, under new Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, began participating in raids and the demolition of Jewish outposts in the West Bank. The sources said Gantz's predecessor, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, refused to involve the Army in such operations out of concern that this would divide the military.

The sources said the Army was coordinating with the police and the paramilitary Border Guards for major operations against the more than 100 West Bank Jewish communities deemed illegal. They said scores of Jewish homes built without licenses could be destroyed over the next two months.

The military planning has been accompanied by a crackdown on Jewish dissent in the West Bank. Police have raided West Bank communities and arrested rabbis and journalists deemed opponents of the government policy.

On June 12, police stormed the Jewish community of Yitzhar and arrested three members of the news Web site Jewish Voice. The Web site was the first to publish Alon's orders to identify soldiers and officers who might oppose demolition operations.

"A number of items and computers were seized during the raid as part of the investigation," a police spokeswoman said.

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