IDF Central Command chief issues warning over far-right

Maj.-Gen. Mizrahi condemns hostility toward outgoing Judea and Samaria Division commander Brig.-Gen. Alon for clearing illegal outposts.

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October 25, 2011 19:10
2 minute read.
Brig.-Gen. Alon replaced as Samaria Division chief

IDF ceremony 311. (photo credit: Courtesy IDF Spokesperson)

 
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OC Central Command Maj.- Gen. Avi Mizrahi issued a stern warning on Tuesday over the threat posed by far-Right Jewish elements in the West Bank.

Speaking during a ceremony to mark the replacement of outgoing Judea and Samaria Division commander Brig.- Gen. Nitzan Alon, whose home was the scene of regular demonstrations by activists opposed to IDF clearances of illegal outposts, Mizrahi warned that the IDF may have to “confront the extreme fringes on the Right, who could bring the whole area to an escalation [in violence].”

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Maj.-Gen. Mizrahi: ‘Price-tag’ attacks constitute terror


Mizrahi also condemned “price tag” attacks by far-Right elements, which are launched on random Palestinian targets and security forces following the demolition of outposts.

Addressing Alon, Mizrahi said, “You’ve absorbed quite a bit [of hostile rhetoric]. In my view, this was unjustified. I think it is right to condemn people who were led by rumors.”

Turning to Alon’s mother, Mizrahi added, “It must have been difficult for you to see the demonstrations around your son’s home. I’d like you to know that you’ve raised a son who is a source of pride to the State of Israel.”

Alon was praised by Mizrahi for “knowing how to create a connection with Jewish communities [in the West Bank] with the required sensitivity, but also, with determination and without shortcuts.

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Alon echoed Mizrahi’s warning, saying that “an extreme and marginal minority can bring about an escalation through acts that are called ‘price tag,’ but which reach the level of terrorism.”

During his two years as Judea and Samaria Division commander, Alon’s relationship with many of the settlers and right-wing activists was particularly contentious. They were angered by what they considered his strong-armed tactics during the demolitions of temporary homes in fledgling outposts and problems with access to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus.

He was particularly criticized for his use of plastic bullets against activists at the nearby Gilad Farm outpost.

Samaria Citizens Committee Chairman Benny Katzover said he was the most “left-wing” division commander that he could recall in the past 30 years.

The Citizens Committee of Binyamin and Samaria said that during Alon’s time in command, the IDF hit an all-time record of alienating the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria. It added that Alon was a politician in uniform and would have been better suited as a member of a left-wing party.

But Dani Dayan, who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, defended Alon and said he was one of the bravest soldiers in the army.

“Yes, we had our share of disagreements,” said Dayan. But he added that when it came to “price-tag” violence, he agreed with Alon and that it was important to halt such attacks.

Alon will be replaced by Brig.- Gen. Hagai Mordechai.

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