IDF delays draft of anti-pullout youths

Draft postponed for 5 youths under investigation for violence against soldiers.

settlers police clash 88 (photo credit: )
settlers police clash 88
(photo credit: )
The IDF has postponed the drafting of five settler youth who are currently being investigated by the Israel Police for participating in violent illegal protests opposing the disengagement and attacking members of the security forces. According to the army, only after the status of the five youths who were to have been drafted this month has been clarified and a decision made whether to indict them or not will a final decision be made regarding their military service. According to a report released by Y-net, statistics compiled by Col. Amir Rogovsky, head of the IDF's "Bakum" induction center, showed that over 100 settler youths who were due to be drafted in the coming months were charged with criminal offenses or were under police investigation for their involvement in anti-disengagement activities. "As a rule, the draft of all new recruits who are involved in a criminal investigation is suspended until the proceedings are finalized. We then look into the question of whether or not to draft each individual," Rogovsky was quoted as saying. In a number of incidents in recent weeks, settlers and civilians attacked IDF officers and soldiers, generating harsh criticism from the entire political and military establishment, ranging from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to OC Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz. The upsurge in violence directed at members of the security forces caused Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres to demand that citizens who attacked members of the security forces be barred from serving in the army. Peres also called for new legislation that would permit the courts to meter out harsher punishments to citizens convicted of attacking members of the security forces. Last week, settlers attacked Lt.-Col. Benny Shick, including punching him in the face, during the dismantling of an illegal outpost near Eilon Moreh. Scores of settlers punctured IDF vehicles and tore Shick's shirt. Mofaz, who harshly criticized the incident and called the rioters' behavior insufferable, declared that under no circumstances could such a situation be permitted to continue, whereby citizens assaulted those defending the country. A week earlier, OC Manpower Maj.-Gen. Elazar Stern was attacked when he went to pray at the Western Wall. Halutz condemned the assault at the time. Stern, who at the time of the assault was wearing civilian clothing, told The Jerusalem Post, "I hope this garbage is taught to understand the limits. We won't let them destroy the state. We won't let anyone prevent us from praying at the Western Wall." He said many of those who assaulted him were Americans, probably tourists.