An Israeli court sentenced an Israeli soldier who refused to take part in the army’s efforts to close the Gush Katif sttlement bloc to nonresidents to 21 days in jail, Israeli sources reported.

Soldier Haim Atar from Shavei Shomron told his commanders on Thursday, after the army had had declared the Gaza Strip aclosed military zone, that he refused to take part in the plan.

Atar is a hesder yeshiva student in Bracha settlement near the West Bank city of Nablus. This type of yeshiva combines military service and Torah studies.

Atar, the second evacuation refusenik, was judged in a battalion disciplinary procedure after his demand to be tried before a military court was rejected.

The first refusenik, Corporal Avi Bieber, was sentenced earlier this week to 56 days in prison after he refused to participate in the demolition of abandoned structures in the Gush Katif area.

An entire platoon of religious soldiers from hesder yeshivas was reported to have reached an agreement with their commanders not to participate in the evacuation of the Gaza settlements. This platoon belongs to the Givati infantry battalion, which is assigned to evacuation-related tasks in the Gush Katif area.

Army sources, however, denied such an agreement with the soldiers, saying that none of the unit’s soldiers will refuse orders and no negotiations have been held on the matter.

Israeli officials have shown a serious concern over the issue of soldiers refusing to take part in the evacuation.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, speaking late Wednesday night at a media briefing, said that refusal to serve was ‘not the Jewish way, not the Israeli way, and not something which we should be prepared to tolerate.’

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