Peace Now: Rightists trying to divide IDF

Peace Now Rightists try

The Peace Now movement on Wednesday criticized a letter of support written by reservists from the IDF's Shimshon Battalion of the Kfir Brigade, which expressed support for two battalion soldiers who had publicly protested the battalion's role in the evacuation of the West Bank settlement of Homesh. "Rightist elements are making a lofty effort to divide the IDF, and turn the Shimson Battalion into a private voice for the settlers," Peace Now said in a statement. "It's up to the IDF to remove from reserve duty every soldier who supports insubordination, and tries to make the IDF political." The letter, which was submitted to brigade commanders on Wednesday, called for the IDF, and their unit in particular, to "stop carrying out political caprices … such as chasing after Jews with cries of joy as though they were the biggest of terrorists." Last month, two IDF recruits from the infantry's Shimshon Battalion were sentenced to 20 days in a military jail and ejected from their unit by a military tribunal for engaging in an illegal demonstration. The two had held up a banner protesting the army's evacuation of an illegal outpost during a swearing-in ceremony at the Western Wall. Their actions sparked a media firestorm and a debate over whether pro-settlement ideological organizations were increasingly undermining the IDF's chain of command. "Shimshon does not evacuate Homesh," the large hand-written sign held up by the soldiers during the ceremony read. The recruits were tried by Col. Oren Aman, commander of the Kfir Division, to which the Shimshon Battalion belongs. Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report