Ashkenazi: Police should evacuate settlements

Ashkenazi Police should

ashkenazi radio 248 88 (photo credit: Army Radio)
ashkenazi radio 248 88
(photo credit: Army Radio)
Amid predictions that escalating violence would force the IDF to take an active role in the distribution of settlement moratorium orders, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said Wednesday that the Israel Police was more experienced at handling settlement evacuations. "Police should deal with civilians, in order to prevent a situation in which soldiers are involved in the evacuation of settlements," Ashkenazi said in a rare radio interview. "The police have more experience, and soldiers are more suitable for use in security missions on the periphery." While Ashkenazi prefers to keep the IDF on the sidelines of the moratorium operation, which is being carried out by the Border Police and Civil Administration, officers in the IDF's Central Command are beginning to prepare for the possibility that soldiers will have to participate in the operation. "If the violence escalates we will likely not be able to sit for long on the sidelines," one defense official said. On Tuesday, a border policewoman and close to a dozen settlers were injured during violent clashes that erupted at the settlement of Tzofim when Civil Administration inspectors came to distribute moratorium orders. Ashkenazi also spoke about Defense Minister Ehud Barak's recent decision to sever the ties between the IDF and the Har Bracha Yeshiva and remove it from the hesder framework. "We made it possible for rabbis to condemn insubordination [in the IDF], but to my regret not all of them did so," he said. On Wednesday night, Barak and Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai met with head of the hesder yeshiva union Rabbi Haim Druckman. During the meeting, which was held at Druckman's request, Barak said that he would not reverse his decision to oust Har Bracha from the hesder arrangement with the IDF, under which soldiers serve 16 months in the IDF and spend close to four years in yeshiva. "The IDF needs to be outside of the political debate and there can be no compromises on this," Barak told Druckman. "The decision to sever the ties between the IDF and the Har Bracha yeshiva will not be changed." Ashkenazi said that the IDF would not tolerate soldiers who do not follow their commanders' orders. "In the IDF there is a chain of command, and soldiers swear that they will follow their commanders' orders in full," he said. Druckman said after the meeting that he made it clear to Vilnai and Barak that there was no ultimatum and that the hesder yeshivot would keep channels of communication open with the Defense Ministry. "We have not issued any threats of an ultimatum," said Druckman. "We will continue to maintain a dialogue with the defense ministry in an attempt to find a solution."