An Israeli army corporal who refused to participate in the
Gaza disengagement was sentenced to 56 days in jail by a second Israeli military court Sunday. The corporal, Avi Bieber, refused to help demolish a house that settlers planned to take as a stronghold.


The military prosecution found flaws in Bieber’s first disciplinary trial, and ordered a retrial.


19-year-old Bieber, from the West Bank settlement of Tekoa, was serving in the Gaza Strip when his unit was assigned to demolish a vacant building that settlers planned to use as a stronghold.


Bieber was given a direct order to participate in evacuating the settlers who arrived to prevent the demolition, but he refused this order, and was arrested.  He later refused a commander’s order to return to the site, and cursed at the officer.


A disciplinary court initially sentenced Bieber to 28 days in jail for refusing to follow a military order and an additional 28 days for threatening and insulting a commander. In his second trial, he was convicted of refusing to carry out military orders, and his sentence remained the same.


When arrested the first time, American-born Bieber told the commanders, ‘I did not come to

Israel to beat up Jews.’


A second soldier later followed Bieber in refusing orders related to the pullout.   Private Haim Atar, a hesder yeshiva student, told his commanders that he would not take part in the plan to close the Gaza Strip and declare it a military zone to prevent settlers disrupting the pullout.


Hesder yeshivas combine religious studies with military service.   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. The platoon belongs to the Givati infantry battalion, which is assigned to evacuation-related tasks in the Gush Katif area.