TEL AVIV (Jun. 18)
A group of Israel Defense Force reservists serving in the West Bank has been recruited by the Gush Emunim and its allies in Likud and other rightwing parties.
These reservists will wage a propaganda counter-offensive against IDF soldiers and officers who have criticized Jewish settlers for violent and provocative acts against Arab residents of the territory, particularly the armed attack on the Daheisha refugee camp near Bethlehem during the night of June 6.
About 30 reservists have signed a statement protesting “a situation in which senior echelons and the media cast all the blame on the Jewish residents of the area while they are constantly being murdered and attacked by Arab rioters.”
According to Davar, the petition was organized by reservist Arych Vudka at the request of settlers in Kiryat Arba, adjacent to Hebron, a Gush Emunim stronghold. Vudka is a contributor to the newspaper Hayarden, which advocates Israeli sovereignty over all of the biblical “land of Israel.”
The petition is aimed specifically at another group of reservists posted in Hebron, who issued a statement last week charging Jewish settlers there with constant harassment of Arab residents, and also at critics of the Daheisha raid. None of the signatories were among the IDF soldiers who witnessed the attack on Daheisha and intervened to prevent bloodshed. The latter publicly support Lt. Gen. Amram Mitzna, commander of the central sector, who denounced the Daheisha raid as “contemptible.”