Police commander Uri Bar Lev
KFAR TAPUACH, WEST BANK – In a bombshell interview here, the enlisted son of the police chief responsible for overseeing the withdrawal of Jewish settlements from Gaza and parts of the West Bank told WorldNetDaily he thinks the disengagement plan is “wrong,” and he will refuse orders if his unit is called to participate in the withdrawal.
Rafi Bar Lev, son of police commander Uri Bar Lev, told WND yesterday, “I think [the withdrawal] is wrong and I will say to my commander that I want to do something else, to give food to the soldiers, something like that.”
When asked if he would refuse orders to serve should his Israel Defense Forces unit be assigned to participate this summer in the removal of Jewish settlers, Bar Lev responded “yes.”
He said he understands refusing orders could result in his arrest: “Yes, I know. Everybody knows.”
Bar Lev’s father recently was appointed commander of the Israeli Police Southern Division, a position that requires overseeing the removal of Jews from their Gaza settlements, which will be enforced predominantly by his unit.
Uri Bar Lev previously served as head of police intelligence, where he was instructed to prepare a plan for facilitating police operations outside the West Bank and Gaza during the withdrawal, including riot control and threats to public figures.
Rafi spoke to WND while on guard duty at Tapuach, a hilltop settlement about 55 kilometers into the West Bank, just south of Nablus. He currently is enrolled in basic training for the 51st Golani Brigade, an elite IDF unit, and was posted last night at the front entrance to the settlement, where he monitors incoming traffic and conducts routine surveillance of the area.
Four other soldiers on duty with Bar Lev also told WND they disagree with the withdrawal and would refuse orders if asked to participate.
“This is giving into terrorism,” said one soldier while he was preparing dinner for the troops, a hotdog barbeque.
“Most of my friends in the army feel the same way too,” he said.
Another soldier said: “I don’t know who will help with the withdrawal, but any Jew who does is a traitor.”
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s withdrawal plan has stirred much debate within the ranks of the IDF, with many soldiers saying they are not comfortable removing Jews from their homes. Officials expect a sizable number of settlers to revolt against the plan and predict violent confrontations with law enforcement.
IDF leaders won an ongoing debate the past few months to employ police instead of soldiers to remove Jewish settlers, explaining police units, including the section now headed by Bar Lev, are more properly trained in the confrontation of civilian dissenters and have more legal authority and maneuvering room than do IDF soldiers when it comes to domestic issues.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has said he, too, would prefer soldiers not take part in evacuations.
Select Israeli police units reportedly have been learning techniques to carry out the withdrawal process, including putting down settler revolts and confronting Jews who refuse to leave their homes.
At a recent conference on law and society in Israel, Uri Bar Lev said the police department was unhappy about withdrawal oversight.
“From the standpoint of values, the police is not happy about having to confront citizens of the country,” Bar Lev said.
Critics of the Gaza evacuation argue the areas given to Palestinian control may be used to stage attacks against Israel, and warn that Palestinian groups will view the retreat as a victory for terror.
A confidential Hamas memo written by Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar, Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, and obtained last summer by WorldNetDaily, stated the terror group views Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal as a capitulation to terror and is planning to continue its “armed struggle” against the Jewish state until “all territories” are in Palestinian hands.
“The withdrawal, if it is implemented, is an important achievement by the Palestinian people, its intifada and armed struggle, its determination and great sacrifice, and confirms the willingness, correctness and usefulness of employing an armed struggle and its ability to attain political objectives,” writes al-Zohar.
“We will emphasize our people’s right to resist the occupation [outside the Gaza Strip] so long as the occupation of the land and the aggression continue, with the understanding that withdrawal from Gaza is not the end of the story and occupation is still present in the rest of the lands and that not all rights and holy sites have been returned yet,” the memo stated.
Rafi told WND he, too, thinks Hamas will take over Gaza after the withdrawal.
“I don’t think we should keep giving [the Palestinians] more and more,” he said. “You give them one thing and they will want more. They will continue with the bombing.”
In response to his son’s interview, Uri told WND this morning, “I love my son and am proud he volunteered in the Golani Brigade.”
Rafi says he understands the consequences of his position: “My father will be angry about it.”