US-sponsored peace talks have stalled over the issue of settlements,
Israel's national police force has revealed that it is turning to the
very same illegal communities in its first-ever drive to recruit
officers from among the settlers.
special officer training course, which is chiefly aimed at discharged
combat soldiers, includes seven months of religious studies in an
extremist West Bank settlement.
The programme has provoked widespread concern among Israel's 1.3 million Palestinian citizens, a fifth of the population.
police have already repeatedly demonstrated their hostility to
Palestinian citizens, but this move proves that the authorities want to
extend and deepen our oppression," said Jafar Farah, the director of
Mossawa, an advocacy centre for the Palestinian minority.
it really credible that these religious extremists who have been
educated to hate Palestinians in the West Bank are going to behave
differently when they police our communities inside Israel?"
first 35 cadets in the officer-training programme -- known as "Believe
in the police" -- are to start their studies next month. More than 300
settlers are reported to have expressed an interest in the course so
Known and very popular cialis coupon which gives all the chance to receive a discount for a preparation which has to be available and exactly cialis coupons has been found in the distant room of this big house about which wood-grouses in the houses tell.
police command is said to have taken up the idea, originally proposed
by right-wing groups, in the hope of reversing years of declining
recruitment levels that have led to a national shortage of officers.
will study for three and a half years, mostly at Haifa University in
Israel, at the end of which they will be awarded a degree and the rank
their studies also include seven months in a religious seminary in a
small extremist settlement, Elisha, deep in the West Bank. Although all
the settlements are illegal under international law, Elisha is one of
dozens of wildcat settlements also illegal under Israeli law.
Gorenberg, an expert on the religious settlers, said Israel's "future
police commanders" would graduate from the course after an early lesson
Chetboun, the head of the Raananim movement, a right-wing group
overseeing the programme, described to Olam Katan, a newspaper popular
with the religious community, one way the organisers might win over
settlers to a career in the police.
said taking potential recruits on night-time patrols of Ramle and Lod
-- Israeli towns notorious for containing deprived, crime-ridden
Palestinian neighbourhoods -- would quickly open their eyes to one of
"the most meaningful national issues".
The police spokesman was not available for comment.
team of rabbis has been appointed to resolve potential conflicts
between the settlers' religious principles and their police duties,
which could involve desecrating the sabbath and dealing with "immodest"
right-wing settler activist, Hor Nizri, who has clashed with the police
in the past over the evacuation of settlements, has been put in charge
of recruiting young settlers.
told the Yedioth Aharonoth newspaper that the programme was "a historic
reconciliation", adding: "We want to fill the ranks of the police as we
fill the ranks of the army."
comments have sparked concern among Palestinian groups inside Israel
that the programme is the first phase of an attempted settler "takeover"
of the police, replicating their growing dominance of sections of the
first official figures on the number of settlers in the Israeli
military, released last month, show their massive over-representation in
combat units. About a third of all officers in such units were
settlers, up from only 2.5 per cent in 1990.
The police hope that a career in the force will be attractive to many of the settlers after they are discharged.
Mr Farah said there was plenty of evidence that religious settlers were
becoming ever more extreme in their hostility towards Palestinians. He
pointed to the growing influence of extremist rabbis in promoting
the summer, two prominent rabbis from the settlement of Yitzhar, near
Nablus, were questioned on suspicion of incitement after publishing a
book, The King's Torah, in which they sanctioned the killing of
non-Jews, including children. In one passage, the authors write: "There
is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow
up to harm us."
The book has been endorsed by a number of senior rabbis in the settlements.
Similar sentiments have been gaining a foothold among army rabbis.
last year, in the immediate wake of Israel's three-week operation in
Gaza, it was revealed that the army rabbinate had handed out a booklet
to combat soldiers about to enter Gaza calling their attack ‘a war on
murderers’ and warning them against “surrendering a single millimetre”
Some 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the attack, including hundreds of women and children.
Palestinian minority's relations with the police are already marked by
deep distrust, following the killing of 13 unarmed demonstrators and the
wounding of hundreds more in 2000, at the start of the second intifada.
A subsequent state commission of inquiry accused the police command of viewing the minority as “an enemy”.
Farah also pointed to the unexplained deaths of 36 Palestinian citizens
by the police over the past decade. In only two cases have police
officers been convicted.
Israeli observers have expressed concern that the settlers' greater
influence on the police could also make implementing the dismantlement
of West Bank settlements much harder in any future peace deal.
Gorenberg said previous evacuations, including the 2005 withdrawal from
Gaza, had been handled chiefly by the police because so many army units
were dominated by settlers. The police, he added, "could acquire the
Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest
books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the
Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing
Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His
website is www.jkcook.net.