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Chief of Staff: Yesha Appointment not a Message to Settlers

Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz: no ulterior motive in appointment of general Alon, who is perceived as being anti-settler.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/28/2011, 6:40 PM

Benny Gantz
Benny Gantz
פלאש 90

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz said Wednesday that the appointment of Brig.-Gen. Nitzan Alon to head Central Command is not a message to Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria (Yehuda and Shomron, or Yesha) that the IDF intends to pursue an adversarial agenda against them. 

Alon is  perceived by Jewish Yesha residents as leftist and ideologically opposed to nationalists due to public statements he made during his tenure as the top IDF commander in Judea and Samaria.

"His appointment is not a message," Gantz said in an interview on IDF Radio, "he is a successful officer, full of merit. He will prove this. There is nothing in his appointment that is not professional. It is not connected to any event that happened recently."

Some nationalists saw a connection between the appointment of an officer perceived as hostile and the recent "price tag" events at the Ephraim Regiment Base, in which Jews are suspected of involvement in vandalism against Arabs and soldiers. 

"IDF forces are stationed in Judea and Samaria in order to protect residents of the sector. We do not construct our defense against Israeli citizens and our Jewish brothers. Wherever we find disruptions of law and order, we will utilize all means at our disposal."

The event at the Ephraim Regiment Base "has been studied and lessons have been learned," Gantz assured. He denied that soldiers have been instructed to fire at Yesha residents who riot.

"There has been no change in instructions; we do not intend to shoot people. We will detain, take action and transfer the rioters to the Israel police," he said.