TEL AVIV (May. 20)
Rioting West Bank Jewish settlers will be treated “like common criminals,” Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Ehud Barak warned.
“There are Israelis who have overstepped any acceptable norm in their behavior towards soldiers on duty. These people should get a hold on themselves. If they don’t, they will be treated like common criminals,” he said to reporters as he took up his post at Israel Defense Force General Headquarters.
He said that complaints would be filed against Israelis caught in vigilante activities, damaging property or harassing the Arab population. Barak said the IDF would stop vigilante patrols by settlers, which he described as illegal and an interference with the Army’s ongoing security activities.
In summing up his leadership of the Central Command, Barak said the IDF had blocked all efforts to infiltrate into Israel via the Jordan River in the past 16 months and had foiled all but two attempts to escape from the country by crossing the river.
He said there were 10 attempts to escape from Israel through the Jordan Valley, including two by terrorists who had been involved in attacks in Israel.
There were nine attempts to penetrate into Israel while he led the Central Command, most of which were foiled immediately. But in one case the infiltrator was caught only after 10 days, he said.