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Rogue Forces

November 5th, 2008by Gershom Gorenberg · 3 Comments · Politics and Policy

Why does the Israeli army defend illegal outposts rather than dismantle them en masse? Why doesn’t the political leadership give the orders for the army to act?

Yagil Levy, an excellent analyst, has a very good, and very frightening explanation, via Ha’aretz:

The bias of the army is naturally in favor of the settlers, over the Palestinians. This bias was strengthened by the deployment of the military force in three circles. The first circle is regional defense, reserve units, made up of settlers, that participate in the settlements’ daily defense. In this context, the army entrusted the settlers with weapons as reserve soldiers, and the result was the growth of armed militias in the territories…

The second circle is composed of the six policing battalions that regularly serve in the territories and are united in the framework of the Kfir Brigade…a significant percentage of the soldiers in the policing battalions are graduates of yeshivas whose ideological bias is clear, and who are subject to external rabbinical influence…

In Levy’s description, the IDF units responsible for dealing with the settlements are steadily becoming rogue forces. It’s a development that makes withdrawal more difficult – and yet reemphasizes how important withdrawal is to Israel’s future.

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