Nov 16, 2009 12:33 | Updated Nov 16, 2009 20:09
2 soldiers jailed for evacuation protest
By YAAKOV KATZ AND JPOST.COM STAFF
Two Nachshon Brigade soldiers, who demonstrated against the razing of two illegal structures near the settlement of Negohot in the Southern Hebron Hills on Monday morning, were sentenced to 30 days in military prison.
The soldiers were also banned from combat and command positions and were demoted.
The soldiers, who did not take part in the operation although their unit provided perimeter security around the area, went up on the roof of a structure in a nearby army base, raising a poster with the words "Nachshon also does not expel Jews" written on it.
IDF sources said that they view the incident in the "utmost severity."
Last month, soldiers from the Shimshon Brigade raised a banner during their swearing-in ceremony at the Western Wall which said "Shimshon will not evacuate Homesh." Both Shimshon and Nachshon Brigades are part of the larger Kfir Battalion.
A family with six children lived in one of the structures that was demolished while a young couple with a baby lived in the other.
Assaf Freed, who lives in a nearby settlement, accused the Civil Administration of carrying out a "selective and racist" enforcement of building laws in the area.
"People are forced to build on their own because one cannot get a building permit nowadays due to political reasons. Only a mile from here you can a see an illegal Arab structure that I, as an IDF officer, together with a Civil Administration official, personally served its owners with a demolition order 10 years ago. But it is still there 10 years later while houses of Jews are demolished," he told Israel Radio.
Right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir blamed Defense Minister Ehud Barak for the deteriorating situation.
"Over the past weeks, we've been approached by more and more soldiers who don't want to be [Barak's] pawns and to expel children from their homes," said the activist, who also serves as parliamentarian aid to MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union.) "Today, we are casting the responsibility upon the defense minster and saying that Barak is responsible for the recent uprisings in the IDF, and if such expulsions continue, there will be manifold and severe repercussions.
Peace Now secretary-general Yariv Oppenheimer slammed soldiers from the Right who of recent are disobeying more and more orders for political reasons, which is not the wont of the Left, according to Oppenheimer.
"For years, thousands of soldiers from the Left filled orders they were not at whole with, such as securing settlements and illegal outposts. I do it too annually in my reserve service, and nobody rebels, and we accept the democratic decisions. This is a phenomenon of mutiny in the army, and should be taken care of with severity," he said.
"The leaders of the Right should act on this, and speak out against such issues," Oppenheimer added.