IDF says leaked memo on settlement freeze was just a draft 20Dec09 December 21, 2009

by Chaim Levinson  -  Haaretz -  20 December 2009


The Israel Defense Forces said on Sunday that a leaked memo outlining tactics to enforce a freeze on construction in West Bank settlements was just a preliminary draft, following a torrent of criticism by settlers over the document.

“The commands published today in the Israeli media describe the first draft received by senior officers in the Judea and Samaria Regional Division and the Central Command as well as other relevant senior security officials,” the IDF statement said.

Earlier Sunday, Haaretz published the leaked memo it had obtained, which states that raids by special forces and air surveillance would be used to enforce the 10-month moratorium on new construction.


But the IDF later said that, “No IAF activity has been planned in this regard. The Civil Administration and the Central Command use privately owned planes rented by the Defense Ministry in order to conduct photography sorties.”

The army statement went on to stress that the IDF’s main objective in the West Bank is to combat terror and not clash with Israeli civilians.

“The IDF would like to emphasize that the Civil Administration, the Israeli Police and the Border Police are the relevant authorities who deal with Israeli civilians, as is customary,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch on Sunday emphasized there is no agreement regarding the deployment of special forces teams to enforce the freeze.

The memo states that documented violations will be destroyed in lightning operations in which the army will create a closed military zone so media will not be allowed to enter. The document differentiates between what its authors called “tactical surprise” and “strategic surprise.”

First, there will be an effort at dialogue with settlers, the document states. “On the tactical level, surprise needs to be achieved… by blocking off the area with large forces so as to paralyze.”

All intelligence sources will participate in tracking violations, the document said. “All agencies will be used, including the intelligence branch of the command, the Shin Bet and regular troops.”

Violators will be subject to prompt action by the Israel Police with special attention paid to anyone who attacks troops or police officers or sabotages army property. The aftermath of such incidents will be publicized, the document added.

IDF troops would be called in to evict settlers “only in extreme instances which will be decided upon individually,” the document says in reference to this sensitive issue.

There have been acts of disobedience by troops who refused to carry out orders on ideological grounds. The eviction itself is supposed to be carried out by police officers.

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