IDF should do more to stop right-wing extremists in West Bank, top officer says 26Oct11 October 26, 2011

Haaretz  -  25 October 2011

Outgoing West Bank Division Commander Brigadier-General Nitzan Alon said on Tuesday that the Israel Defense Forces had not been effective enough in stopping ‘price tag’ attacks.

Speaking at a ceremony marking his replacement in the post by Brigadier-General Haggai Mordechai, Alon said that the IDF should have prevented and stopped ‘price tag’ attacks by right-wing extremists “more efficiently than we have so far.”

Alon’s new position has still not been confirmed, although it is thought that he will be promoted to the rank of Major-General.

During the ceremony, GOC Central Command Avi Mizrachi attacked earlier criticism of Alon by settler groups, saying that he regretted that public figures had listened to rumors, and had come out with baseless declarations against Alon.

Addressing Alon’s mother, Liona Alona, who was present at the ceremony, Mizrachi said, “I am very sorry that you had to hear hate speech against your son.” He praised Alon for working with “determination” to guarantee the safety of Israeli citizens.

This summer, Alon was the subject of a campaign by Right-Wing extremist groups, who demonstrated outside his home and surrounded his car on a number of occasions.

Last June, MK Yaakov Katz (National Union) said in an interview to the Jewish Voice that Alon is “a post-Zionist who hates the settlements in Judea and Samaria,” saying also that in the future Alon would be brought to trial.

Opposition to Alon started after the death of Culture Minister Limor Livnat’s nephew, Ben-Joseph Livnat, on a visit to Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank in April this year.

Military Police investigators arrested an Israeli soldier on Monday, following suspicions that he had leaked Israel Defense Forces operations in the West Bank to Jewish settlers.

The soldier, a married man and father of two children, served in the Samaria Brigade’s rabbinate and has yet to be informed of the specific charges against him.

Tensions between the IDF and extremist settlers in the West Bank has been on the rise further since September, following the dismantling of the Migron outpost.

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