The outposts report submitted by Atty. Talia Sasson caused a furor-but now it has become apparent that Sasson secretly prepared another sensitive report, focusing on the disengagement plan.
Yediot Ahronot has learned that at the request of the IDF, Talia Sasson wrote a special report intended to prepare the IDF for the implementation of disengagement.
The special report, which was written along with researchers from the Israel Democracy Institute, was presented to the IDF General Staff a week ago. The main points of the report have reached Yedioth Ahronoth.
“The soldiers and commander should be prepared for extreme scenarios that will take place during the evacuation, but the IDF should keep the preparations secret and conceal this from the public,” recommends Sasson.
Sasson does not elaborate on the scenarios, but the security establishment is mainly concerned about Jews firing on the security forces, or a family barricading itself with its children and threatening to commit suicide.
Sasson warns the IDF against the failure of the evacuation, and not only due to the resistance on the ground that will be displayed by settlers and right wing activists: “The IDF could have difficulty carrying out the disengagement plan, due to officers and soldiers within it who are opposed (to the plan-GMT) and the unknown number of those who will disobey orders,” states the report. Sasson also warns that if the settlers succeed in thwarting the evacuation, the failure could cause grave damage to the status and strength of the IDF-and even the collapse of the democratic regime.
One of the problems with which the IDF is trying to deal is the pressure that right wing rabbis are applying on religious soldiers and commanders, namely the call to disobey the evacuation order on the grounds that it is patently illegal. The rabbis repeatedly air slogans, such as “a Jew does not evacuate a Jew” and “parts of the Land of Israel must not be abandoned.”
Sasson proposes that the IDF cope with these contentions with legal arguments, which will be presented to the soldiers and the general public.
She says that since the evacuation order is based on Knesset legislation-it is legal. As for the contention regarding the abandonment of parts of the Land of Israel, Sasson proposed to reply that the government has the right to determine the borders of the state.
The attorney proposes to the IDF and the political echelon to counter the right wing contention that this is a transfer of Jews: “The evacuation of settlements is a transfer of population against its will, but [it is being done] into their country, not a foreign country.”
Sasson also presented to the chief of staff the rules of behavior to which the soldiers should adhere during the evacuation. “The use of force should be only as a vital act for the evacuation or for the purpose of self-defense,” she said.
The report states that a forcible response should not be made to curses and insults that the opponents of disengagement direct at the soldiers.
In addition, the soldiers should know that they have full backing for their actions, that the rabbis do not come in stead of the IDF commanders, and that disobeying the evacuation order will come at a severe personal cost.
Sasson also offers a proposal to the IDF how to behave with the settlers: To hold farewell ceremonies for the settlers from their settlements, and at the same time to clarify that anyone who employs violence will pay a heavy price.
“The report is intended to teach the IDF soldiers that they have full legal backing to shut our mouths,” charged a right wing figure who read the new Sasson report. “Its sole purpose is to divide the world into good guys and bad guys, and we are the bad guys, of course. The choice of Talia Sasson, author of the outposts report and a fierce opponent of the settlements, is like waving a red rag in front of our eyes.”
The IDF stated in response: “This is a document that was written as part of preparatory work and as a basis for discussion at a conference on the topic of ‘Army-society in a limited-scale confrontation,’ which the IDF held in cooperation with the Israel Democracy Institute. The document, which was written by a team headed by Atty. Talia Sasson, is not a military document and does not represent the army’s opinion-but rather served as a basis for discussion.”
This piece ran in Yediot Ahronot on April 28th, 2005