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Photo: Reuters
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Dudi Vaknin
Former residents of Gush Katif demonstrating to mark pullout anniversary
Photo: Dudi Vaknin
Settler reservists: Olmert is insane
Right-wing reservists called up for Lebanon operations criticize PM for saying a victory in Lebanon will advance realignment plan in West Bank; 'Hizbullah is protecting Israel against itself,' one settler says

Settlers in the West Bank called-up to the reserves, were unhappy with comments by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that "Israel's victory in Lebanon will give a new momentum to complete the disengagement from the Palestinians by evacuating most settlements in Judea and Samaria."

 

 

Soldiers living in West Bank settlements are torn between defending the country and the fear of being evacuated from their homes.

 

"If we succeed in Lebanon would they evacuate us from our homes. It's a feeling that you are going to war while at the same time endangering your home," Y, a resident of the West Bank who has been called up to join troops deployed in Lebanon, told Ynet.

 

"Olmert's comments caused demoralization. It brings down your motivation and causes a lack of motivation with the task because I know that if I succeed, my home is in danger," Y said.

 

A resident of Ofra, a father of two IDF officers serving in Lebanon, added: "The prime minister has gone insane. In the middle of war and on the first anniversary of the terrible disengagement he is telling soldiers living in Judea and Samaria: If we win – we will evict you from your homes. I call on the prime minister to reconsider and eliminate the issue from his agenda."

 

"How can the prime minister express himself as such when his sons evade the army and live abroad? How can he say things like that about soldiers serving and fighting as we speak? He needs to open his eyes, listen to what Israel society is saying and realize he is disconnected. We were conscious stricken in Lebanon, then in Gaza and were won't have this happen a third time. If he doesn't retract his words, these soldiers will leave the war," he said.

 

'Disrespectful remarks'

 

Oren Sternberg, a former spokesperson for Gaza settlers, told Ynet he refused to be drafted for operations in Lebanon. Oren said he was aware of Olmert's intentions prior to Wednesday's comments.

 

"At the time being Olmert is not even trying to blur his horrible plan and it can be said in double irony that Hizbullah is protecting the State of Israel from itself," he said,

 

He added that settler soldiers should "put their arms down" as the only way to save Israelis from "Nasrallah's presence in Judea and Samaria and a total disaster."

 

Sternberg said friends of his serving in Lebanon have been outraged by Olmert's comments.

 

"Reservists from Gush Katif were not obliged to enlist to the reserve. They are their because of their volunteering spirit. Olmert's remarks are disrespectful and ridicule the soldiers, many of whom wear kippas," he added, saying that Olmert should not be surprised if settler reservists decide to quit the army.

 

"If I were in Lebanon now, despite the motivation to fight for the state, I would have returned home. I wouldn't have accepted to be a tool of Olmert's – to fight and win then be evicted from home."

 

Shmulik Hadad, Liron Milstein and Ilan Marciano contributed to the report

 

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