Analysis: Army ponders 'day after' in territories after pullout
IDF surprised at success of settler leaders in cooling tempers.
South of the Caesarea power station's smokestacks, the helicopter of Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Dan Halutz turned left, toward Tel Aviv. Halutz was not at the controls of the craft, but merely its most senior passenger. The last sunset dissolved over Homesh and Sa-Nur, but Halutz and Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi were busy planning their next assignments.
In the northern West Bank, as in Gush Katif, an R-rated scene was expected, with lots of physical violence, but instead the audience was served a G-rated version - so much so that the significance of the evacuation seemed to lie in the images of it. Now it has become clear that over the past several days the IDF very carefully turned up the volume on warnings about the danger of anti-disengagement activists barricading themselves against the security forces at Homesh and Sa-Nur.
The dire predictions about what could happen in a confrontation were intended to encourage restraint on the part of rabbis and activist leaders. It was a dangerous game: The same leaders who fanned the flames of resistance in the weeks leading up to the disengagement were called on to cool down tempers at the hour of truth. Even the army strategists were surprised at their success.
After the psychological warfare came the psychologists' turn for the warriors. The IDF is giving a long weekend pass to the thousands of soldiers who took part in the evacuations, both for rest and relaxation but also in order to provide for two days of psychological counseling and venting. The IDF is so fast that a soldier doesn't even have a chance of developing a decent trauma disorder.
IDF sources believe that after settler activists recover from the initial shock of the disengagement, they will establish new outposts in the northern West Bank and elsewhere. The army hopes to leave the job of evacuating these sites to the police and concentrate on guarding the latter and preventing the building of new outposts.
Within a few weeks, the entire West Bank, with the exception of the Jordan Valley, will once again be under the IDF's Judea and Samaria division.
On Wednesday, the brigade commander for the Menashe region in the West Bank, Colonel Oren Avman, recommended to his commanders that the rubble of Homesh and Sa-Nur not be removed. Avman said that even more important than the operational danger and expense of removing the remains of the demolished buildings is the fact that the northern West Bank's status is not supposed to change as a result of the evacuations.
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