Chief of Staff of the Israeli army Dan Halutz warned settler leaders on Sunday that their plans for mass refusal by right-wing religious soldiers to carry out disengagement related orders could encourage other secular leftist soldiers to refuse to serve in the occupied Palestinian territories among.
‘Refusal is unacceptable, whether from the right or from the left,’ said Halutz to leaders of the Yesha Council of settlements in a meeting at his office that lasted more than four hours. ‘What do you want – for a day to come when a secular soldier says that he refuses to participate in guarding the Beit Hasho’eva celebrations [a traditional Sukkot festivity] in Hebron?’
Halutz said, an increase in the number of Ã‚Â ‘refuseniks’ would not prevent the armyÃ‚Â from carrying out disengagement.
‘We are committed to the mission because that’s what the state has decided upon,’ Halutz told settler leaders. ‘We will implement it on time, however many it takes.’
Settler leaders, although condemning violence, intend to continue their protests.
Halutz responded that ‘going all the way’ with their protests was liable to lead to a loss of control and therefore violence.
The Yesha Council has a new plan to disrupt disengagement after the number of protestors did not match their expectations.Ã‚Â Settler leaders expected 100,000 to participate, but only 20,000 participated.
The new plan involves gathering tens of thousands of protestors in two sites in the Western Negev, close to the Gaza Strip borders.
Candidate sites are Sderot, Ofakim, Kibutz Sa’ad and Moshav Patish.Ã‚Â Each site will serve as launching base for activists to try on a daily basis to bypass police and army roadblocks and reach the Gush Katif settlement bloc.