Leaked Memo Details Tactics to Enforce Settlement Freeze

Intelligence agency, Shin Bet and regular troops to join forces; IDF to close off areas to media.

The Israel Defense Forces will use air reconnaissance and photography to detect violations of the freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank, as well as special forces raids on violators, according to a leaked internal army memo obtained by Haaretz.

The document, issued by officers from the Central Command, details the intelligence-gathering methods to be used to detect freeze violations and plans to demolish illegally built structures.

Documented violations will be destroyed in lightning operations in which the army will create a closed military zone so media will not be allowed to enter. The document differentiates between what its authors called "tactical surprise" and "strategic surprise."

First, there will be an effort at dialogue with settlers, the document states. "On the tactical level, surprise needs to be achieved...by blocking off the area with large forces so as to paralyze...."

All intelligence sources will participate in tracking violations, the document said. "All agencies will be used, including the intelligence branch of the command, the Shin Bet and regular troops."

Violators will be subject to prompt action by the Israel Police with special attention paid to anyone who attacks troops or police officers or sabotages army property. The aftermath of such incidents will be publicized, the document added.

IDF troops would be called in to evict settlers "only in extreme instances which will be decided upon individually," the document says in reference to this sensitive issue. There have been acts of disobedience by troops who refused to carry out orders on ideological grounds. The eviction itself is supposed to be carried out by police officers.

"The settlers view these evictions as the beginning of the Disengagement and will strive to prevent demolitions in any way available," the document reads. "There is no concrete intelligence about intention to take up arms but this scenario cannot be discounted, along with attempting to extract a price tag...."

The Human Rights for Yesha organization said the document was "a military operation against the settler public" and would trample on their human rights. It added that as much as the freeze is meant to please the Americans, "the government needs to be reminded that the United States does not take such actions against citizens in its territory."

The IDF Spokesman's Office said that leaving the army out of any political discussion was a "national responsibility."