By TOI STAFF
13 August 2023
A former IDF general argued that Israels control of the West Bank has similarities to discriminatory policies under Nazi Germany, and expressed fear that soldiers will not be motivated to defend the country if the coalition succeeds in shackling the judiciary.
Amiram Levin, who headed the IDF Northern Command, commanded the elite Sayeret Matkal unit and served as deputy director of the Mossad spy agency, told Kan radio on Sunday morning that the military is not only suffering harm to its preparedness because of reservists threats and refusals to serve amid the governments judicial overhaul, but is also rotten to its core due to Iaraels ongoing presence in the West Bank.
It stands on the side, looks at the rioting settlers, and begins to be a partner in war crimes, Levin told the public broadcaster. Its 10 times worse than the issue of [military] readiness and I say honestly, I am not angry at the Palestinians, I am angry at us. We are killing ourselves from the inside.
Recent months have seen a rise in settler violence, with the United Nations earlier this month reporting close to 600 attacks on Palestinians and their property over the past six months. The Israeli defense establishment recorded similar numbers during that period.
According to official data provided to The Times of Israel, there were 680 incidents of stone-throwing or assault of Palestinians by settlers in the first six months of 2023, compared to 950 in all of 2022.
The interviewer asked Levin if he agreed with a May 2016 speech by former Meretz MK Yair Golan, who was IDF deputy chief of staff at the time, in which he said that processes in Israel were similar to some in Europe in the years leading up to the Holocaust.
Levin also assailed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus appointment of draft dodger cabinet members such as National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who was not accepted for mandatory military service by the IDF because of his extremist activities.
The prime minister is being exploited by a messianic group of criminals, former hilltop youth, people who dont even know what democracy is, he charged, referring to extremist settler activists.
They come from areas where there is no democracy, from the West Bank, where for 56 years there hasnt been democracy there, said Levin. There is absolute apartheid
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The Peace Now organization says Israel has approved more settlement construction and development in the seven months since the start of 2023 than in any other previous year.
Under the hardline right-wing government, authorities have advanced the approval of 12,855 homes, passing the previous record of 12,000 in 2020, the organization says.
It has also retroactively legalized 22 illegal outposts, another unprecedented number, the group notes.
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