IDF refusal will bring about Israel's collapse, warns Netanyahu
Some 15 lawmakers sign on to proposal to curb army mandate; two soldiers jailed for pro-settler sign at base.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday warned that Israel Defense Forces soldiers who refused service or orders would contribute to the collapse of the State of Israel.
"The IDF was established on the basis of hierarchy in the ranks," said Netanyahu. "If you want to get rid of the IDF, then support refusal - it will bring about the collapse of the state."
Israel's security and existence are reliant on the IDF, said Netanyahu, and thus "there is absolutely no place" in the army for such behavior.
"The IDF is part of our lives and the army relies on the right to give and receive orders," the prime minister said, adding that the government must take actions against these forms of protest.
The prime minister's remarks came in the wake of a number of incidents involving IDF soldiers protesting their units' task of evacuating unauthorized West Bank outpost, marking a shift in right-wing activity from attacks on Palestinians to protest in army ranks.
Lawmakers from Likud and the right-wing National Union, meanwhile, have proposed a bill to prevent the IDF from forcing its soldiers to evacuate West Bank settlements against their will.
Some 15 MKs from both the coalition and the opposition have signed on to the bill, which was drafted by MKs Tzipi Hotovely and Aryeh Eldad.
"The IDF has been turned into a contractor for the demolition and evacuation of Jewish communities," said Eldad. "This bill makes it clear that the task of the IDF is to defend the State of Israel, its sovereignty and its citizens, and every law enforcement mission dealt with by the Israel Police."
On Monday, six soldiers from the Nachshon Battalion hung a sign at their West Bank base proclaiming that their unit would refuse to evacuate settlements.
Their protest followed the demolition of two illegal houses near the Negohot settlement south of Hebron.
Two of the soldiers were sentenced to 30 days in military prison, dismissed from their unit and demoted as a result of the protest. A military court ruled that another soldier was to spend 20 days in jail, and a fourth was sentenced to 14 days. The other two soldiers are to remain confined to their base for 28 days.
Last month soldiers from the Shimshon Battalion held banners with the same message during their graduation ceremony in Jerusalem. Two soldiers were expelled from their brigade and given 20 days in military prison.
The Shimshon and Nachshon Battalions are both part of the Kfir Brigade, set up to battle Palestinian guerrillas in the West Bank. Such duties have diminished amid a law-and-order drive by Abbas's U.S.-backed administration, which wants to project power in the face of the rival Hamas Islamists now ruling Gaza.
Kfir has been under military investigation for several high-profile cases where Palestinian civilians complained of abuse by the brigade. Its former commander was reprimanded for sanctioning use of force during questioning of suspects.