Police revise their pullout plans to meet shorter timetable

Folks, I can’t even read these horror stories anymore.

The police have recently revised their plans for implementing the disengagement in light of the new, shorter timetable dictated by the government, and believe that they will be able to carry out the mission within the assigned deadline: three weeks to evacuate all the Gaza settlements and one week to evacuate four settlements in the northern West Bank.

According to the revised plan, each settlement will be divided into quarters, with 500 policemen or soldiers assigned to evacuate each quarter. Because of the shorter timetable, the evacuation will require more manpower; therefore, the forces in Gaza, which were originally supposed to operate under a single command, will now be divided into two independent commands.

A third independent command will operate in the northern West Bank, but since the West Bank evacuation is slated to begin only after the Gaza evacuation is completed, this unit is due to be bolstered by the arrival of police from Gaza.

Altogether, between 6,000 and 7,000 police will participate in the evacuation. Some 2,500 will be part of the “inner circle,” meaning the force physically evacuating the settlers; due to the shorter timetable, they will be joined by some 2,500 soldiers and Border Police.

Another 2,200 policemen will assist in sealing off the Gaza Strip to prevent anti-disengagement activists from entering it. The remaining 2,000 to 2,300 will be engaged in patrolling roads inside Israel, both to stop anti-disengagement activists trying to reach Gaza and to break up any attempt by such activists to block major arteries to ordinary traffic.

The diversion of forces to the disengagement will leave only some 10,000 policemen engaged in routine policing activity during this month – a level that police sources defined as the absolute minimum necessary for providing essential services. Starting in June, therefore, all police vacations will be canceled.

The police force is also beefing up its public relations department, which will work in close cooperation with the IDF Spokesman’s Office. The department plans to recruit 15 video and still photographers who will accompany the evacuating forces and supply footage to the media in real time; it will also hire additional spokespeople, and each evacuating force will have an attached spokesman to relay events to reporters from the police’s viewpoint. This material will also be posted on the Israel Police Web site.

Finally, each policeman will be given a set of pocket instructions explaining how to operate in a “media-heavy environment” – namely, police sources said, by treating the settlers to be evacuated with restraint, consideration and courtesy, because of the expected massive media presence.

The police force is also investing efforts in the psychological preparation of the evacuating policemen. Its guidance department has just distributed the second in a planned series of explanatory booklets; this one deals mainly with the need for “political disputes to remain outside the police.” It also includes material on the boundary between freedom of expression and incitement to violence; the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the disengagement plan; Jewish settlement in Gaza and the northern West Bank; and the rule of law and ideological crime

[Smooth: WHAT in the world is “Ideological crime?]

With regard to the settlements, for instance, the booklet states: “All the settlements earmarked for evacuation were established in accordance with the law. The settlers were sent to the region with the encouragement of successive Israeli governments. Some of the settlers have been in the area for more than 30 years, and this is where they have built their homes and raised their families. It is very difficult for a family to leave its home and place of residence. Some [of the settlers] have paid a heavy price, both in terms of the loss of loved ones and in the economic and social sense.

Even if the motive for settling was quality of life rather than ideology, the connection to this place is strong.”

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IMRA – Independent Media Review and Analysis
Website: www.imra.org.il

Police revise their pullout plans to meet shorter timetable

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