Settler leader Pinhas Wallerstein's call on the Israeli public to engage in civil disobedience to thwart Ari'el Sharon's disengagement plan (DP,), subsequently endorsed by the Yesha Committee of Rabbis was given prominent coverage by the Israeli electronic media on 21 December, which carried interviews with settlers opposed to Prime Minister Ari'el Sharon's disengagement plan (DP), as well as with Israeli politicians and defense officials.
Network B's 1005 GMT newsreel carries an interview with Arye Yitzhaqi, a resident of the Kefar Yam settlement inside the Gaza Strip's Qatif Bloc, by anchorwoman Anat Davidov. When asked whether it is true that the settlers are preparing a plan to torpedo Prime Minister Ari'el Sharon's disengagement plan (DP), Yitzhaqi replies: "That is true. You have reached the right address. I head the action committee to fight the disengagement (Mate Lemilhama Bahitnatqut), which was established one month ago. The action committee's goal is to deter the prime minister and his gang from even trying to carry out the move they are talking about; namely, the forcible evacuation of the Qatif Bloc."
When Davidov tells Yitzhaqi that the DP enjoys broad support among the Israeli public, Yitzhaqi says: "That is a grave mistake. This is all a media balloon. If they conduct a referendum among the Israeli public, they will discover that the public feels completely differently."
Yitzhaqi explains that "all the referendums carried out until now have proved that the public is opposed to disengagement," and "all the media's polls are totally biased."
Davidov asks Yitzhaqi what his movement is planning. Yitzhaqi replies: "I am familiar with the people involved and know what can deter them. These are thinking people. We are trying to make it clear to them that any attempt to employ 5,000 policemen and another 2,000 border policemen from the reserves is simply ridiculous." "We are planning three parallel operations: The first operation is called Operation Double (Mivtza Makhpil) in which each family in the Qatif Bloc will join up with a family from outside the Bloc. Their relatives or friends will take up permanent residence here already in the first stage.
Instead of 8,000 people, there will be 16 or 17,000 residents here." Yitzhaqi notes that in the past, this strategy "worked in a big way" in Judaea and Samaria. "The second stage, Yitzhaqi adds, "is more significant. It is called Operation Human Defensive Shield (Mivtza Homat Magen Enoshit). This is the stage we heard the police say they will try to prevent. On the eve of the evacuation or on the evacuation day itself, 100,000 or 120,000 supporters will arrive in the Qatif Bloc to physically prevent the evacuation and uprooting. We have already seen it. We conducted such an exercise on Independence Day and 120,000 supporters came to the Qatif Bloc. The roads were one big traffic jam and 50,000 couldn't come because of the traffic jams. As soon as tens of thousands of people come here, the police have no chance of implementing their plan."
When Davidov asks whether the Israel Police won't be able to prevent the crowds from going to the Qatif Bloc, Yitzhaqi asks: "What will they do? Open fire on the crowds? I don't believe they will do that. No one can prevent such masses of people from crossing over fences and even entering closed military zones."
When Davidov asks whether he is referring to people illegally crossing over fences by destroying them or climbing over them, Yitzhaqi says: What do you mean by illegal crossing? I think that the moves being carried out against us are illegal, and people will come to us. We have plans as to how they will arrive. Everyone who comes here will know exactly which house and community he has to go to. People will receive maps and travelling orders. Everything will be organized."
When Davidov asks whether the settlers' supporters already know where to show up and what they are expected to do, Yitzhaqi replies: "A large number of them already know. Immediately after Operation Human Chain (Mivtza Sharsheret) not long ago, in which a human chain linked between the Qatif Bloc and Jerusalem's Western Wall, we distributed leaflets with telephone numbers to call. A great many good people indeed called."
Yitzhaqi asserts that "people are prepared to come here and even to confront and be arrested by the security forces. I am glad that Pinhas Wallerstein finally understood, and that he and the Yesha Settlement Council are now implementing what we already talked about one year ago. A year ago during Hanukkah, my wife Batya and me approached the Yesha Settlement Council and proposed the measures that they now agree to. Back then, they said that we were militant and aggressive. However, a year of wasted time has passed, and they finally understood."
When Davidov asks Yitzhaqi to talk about the third stage of his plan, he says: "The third clause is called Operation Warm House (Mivtza Bayt Ham). We are planning the defense of our houses and settlements. This is basically a logistical deployment. We have backup measures if they try to cut off our electricity and water supply, or disconnect our phones, such as generators, switches, and walkie talkies. We will use heavy machinery to build ditches to physically prevent the arrival of trucks to evacuate us."
Davidov comments that although Yitzhaqi's plans may sound delusional, they also appear very detailed and serious. Yitzhaqi says: "Indeed, it is not delusional. You heard the police commissioner and the others saying that it will be much more serious than it was in Yamit." Yitzhaqi adds: "Obviously I won't provide you with operational details or relay information to the enemy, quote unquote. I can only tell you that very soon, if they don't realize what is going on, we will give them a demonstration. What the military calls a dry exercise as opposed to a wet exercise, at the micro level. This, just so they will understand."
Yitzhaqi goes on to say that "when this process gathers momentum, and people are talking about March 2005, we will give them a micro demonstration of what they are facing. And because Ari'el Sharon is not stupid -- he may be evil but he's definitely not stupid -- he will be deterred once he realizes what this involves."
Davidov asks Yitzhaqi what he intends to do, and the latter replies:
"We will conduct exercises, the same way the military carries out maneuvers, and invite the media to film them. People will be able to see what this involves."
Yitzhaqi goes on to explain: "The Israel Police have 5,000 policemen capable of carrying this process out, along with another 2,000 reservists. That makes 7,000 people. Imagine a scenario in which one person is laying on the ground and three or four policemen have to evacuate him. He is not engaging in violent resistance, God forbid. Just passive resistance. This means you need three or four policemen for each person. Where will they take 200,000 policemen to evacuate us?"
Davidov asks Yitzhaqi whether he believes that people will be prepared to sacrifice their lives in order to fight the DP. Yitzhaqi replies: "I don't want to speak in anyone's name. That is already a personal dilemma. I can tell you that a large number of people are prepared to sacrifice their liberty. Even an old man like Wallerstein, who is not in the best of health, has declared that he is prepared to go to jail. And there are thousands of young people. I, personally, am definitely not deterred by the threat of prison."
Davidov asks about the use of firearms, and Yitzhaqi replies: "I am not talking about firearms. We are talking about a domestic struggle against our own policemen. We have relatives serving with the police. Do you think I will open fire on policemen? On no account, whatsoever.
But we won't have to do this." Yitzhaqi asserts: "I am almost certain that there will be no gunfire; however, I did hear from authoritative sources close to the prime minister that he will not hesitate to use gunfire against settlers. I even heard a shocking remark that it won't be such a terrible thing if 50 settlers are killed if it quells the opposition."
Davidov goes on to interview Public Security Minister Gid'on Ezra and asks him to respond to Yitzhaqi's remarks. Ezra says: "These are definitely grave remarks. The Qatif Bloc settlers started off by trying to win the public's sympathy. They formed a human chain. These were all legitimate actions. Now, there is a sudden escalation, and I don't know why it erupted just now. I think these are extremely grave remarks."
Davidov asks Ezra whether the authorities will be capable of thwarting the settlers efforts to torpedo Sharon's DP, but Ezra first refutes Yitzhaqi's assertion that the prime minister said that settlers can be shot. Ezra says: "This is complete nonsense. They simply know no limits and should quickly come to their senses." Ezra goes on to say that "any statements of this kind constitute incitement under the law and if instructed to do so by the attorney general, the Israel Police will take action, and I recommend that this be done as soon as possible."
When asked whether the authorities will investigate Yitzhaqi's remarks to Network B, Ezra replies: "These statements will be investigated without a doubt." As for the evacuation, Ezra asserts: "We will fully implement the decisions that were made. The IDF, which is responsible for the evacuation, and the police, which are also part of the operation, will fully implement everything."
When asked whether 5,000 policemen will be capable of dealing with 100,000 protestors, Ezra replies: 'I don't know where you got the figure of 100,000 people from. Because Yitzhaqi said so? I don't know whether you are aware of this, but a decision has already been made to declare the area a closed military zone at some stage and nobody will be allowed in except for the local residents."
Davidov asks whether the police know about or are deployed to deal with the settlers' detailed plans to fight the evacuation, Ezra replies:
"We are deploying for every possible scenario and all our forces will be prepared in time. I very much hope that by that date we will succeed in convincing the local residents that it is preferable for the State of Israel to confront its enemies rather than part of its own public. This is a respected public and great people." Ezra says that "Wallerstein's remarks constitute a departure from what the Qatif Bloc residents have been saying all the time. They always spoke out against violence and now there has been a sudden escalation. We must not accept this escalation and the sooner we act the better. It is simply inconceivable to allow a small part of the population to determine the State of Israel's agenda."
Later in the interview, Ezra notes that "there is a great difference between when Wallerstein makes such remarks and when they are made by a marginal figure. Wallerstein's statements are grave because of the man's standing. This must be taken into account. Arye Yitzhaqi was given air time because of Wallerstein's remarks; otherwise you would not have interviewed him today."
At 1105 GMT, Network B's Anat Davidov interviews Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi and asks him about the police preparations to deal with Arye Yitzhaqi's detailed and extensive plans. Karadi replies: "We are deploying to handle this mission which was entrusted to us by the Israeli Government. We will facilitate the implementation of a democratic decision which was approved in a cabinet decision, a law, and Knesset legislation. We assume that this will not be an easy process for us because it stands to reason that the residents will express their opposition to evacuation in some way. At the same time, as opposed to the people you interviewed, I am in contact with some Qatif Bloc residents and hear different voices. I know the residents of the Qatif Bloc. Most of them are law-abiding citizens and I assume that ultimately the majority of them will obey the law although obviously there will be some form of resistance and we are preparing to deal with it."
Davidov asks whether the Israel Police are capable of preventing 100,000 people from reaching Rafiah Yam before they can even start the evacuation. Karadi replies that "it is important to bear in mind that the Israel Police have been entrusted implementing the evacuation within the framework of the defense establishment and the IDF, and we are working in cooperation with the Army. We are preparing for all possible scenarios, including some of those that have been mentioned."
Karadi goes on to say: "With your permission, I would like to comment on a newspaper headline today that quoted me as saying that public resistance could prevent the evacuation. I was addressing regional council chairmen at a discussion on security affairs and I reviewed the activities required of the Israeli police in the war against crime and terrorism in 2005. I added that the evacuation mission we have been entrusted with is important on the national level because the Israel Police, which is the standard bearer of law and order, cannot permit any resistance to foil a mission it has legally been entrusted with by the Israeli Government and the Knesset. The Israel Police will muster all its resources, even at the expense of other missions, in order to ensure the implementation of this decision in a democratic state. This is the very essence of a democratic state, in which the government's decisions must be implemented."
Karadi adds that "a very large scope of forces" will be involved in the evacuation and disengagement, "and can be expected to handle every possible scenario, including those you heard earlier from the person you interviewed. In the IDF's and our assessment, the scope of forces is sufficient to meet requirements as we see things now. I assume, that if in future we believe there will be a need to augment the forces, then we will do so, because, as I said earlier, the implementation of this mission in face of any resistance is of national importance. Therefore, we will deploy for this mission in such a way as to ensure the best possible implementation."
Later on, Karadi notes that the security force are also preparing for the "use of firearms, although I hope and expect that this will not be on our agenda." Karadi says that the "most extreme scenario" involves the loss of life; however "even the person you interviewed earlier ruled out the possibility of employing firearms against Israeli policemen." Karadi confirms that "the comparison to Yamit was made with regard to the local residents' emotional ties to the land. I assumed that the settlement enterprise in the Qatif Bloc is more deeply ideological than that in Yamit. Therefore, we also expect them to have a stronger desire to oppose the evacuation than in Yamit."
When Davidov asks Police Commissioner Karadi whether he fears that Jewish extremists may attack the mosques on Jerusalem's Temple Mount and whether the Israel Police are preparing for such a possibility, Karadi replies: "We are deployed on the Temple Mount to confront various threats all year round, including threats like the one you mentioned. Our efforts are coordinated with the various security services with the Israeli police translating the level of threat into operational activity.
The Temple Mount issue has top priority on the Israeli police's agenda.
We spare neither forces nor thought in an effort to foil and thwart any such hostile intentions regarding the Temple Mount." "We must not allow any attempt to harm the existing order or security arrangements on the Temple Mount. We therefore deploy our best people, brains, and forces to preclude any untoward events on the Temple Mount."
(Description of Source: Jerusalem Voice of Israel Network B in Hebrew -- State-funded radio; independent in content)toolkit.dialog.com/intranet/cgi/present?STYLE=739318018&PRESENT=DB=985,AN=200350E-mail this article