GOC Central Command Major-General Avi Mizrahi praised the outgoing Judea and Samaria Division commander, Brigadier-General Nitzan Alon, and slammed the right-wing politicians who targeted him throughout his term.
"He knew how to maintain the ties with the Jewish settlement with the necessary sensitivity but also with determination and without shortcuts," Mizrahi said during the change of command ceremony Tuesday.
"Brigadier-General Alon was criticized many a time for his determination, unjustly in my opinion, and I find it necessary to condemn those senior elected officials who were fooled by rumors and made statements that weren't even slightly based in reality," he added.
Alon on Tuesday (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
"We know that your security activity was flawless," he said.
Tensions between settlers and Alon ran high during his term in the West Bank, peaking when a group of youths attacked Alon at Tapuach Junction earlier this year. The youths surrounded Alon's car, kicked the vehicle and called the officer a "traitor."
'Status quo increasingly difficult to preserve'Alon voiced disapproval of the far Right during Tuesday's ceremony, saying that efforts must be made to reign in the "growing extremist margins of the Israeli public."
"Even now the extremist minority is capable of intensifying the operations that we call 'price tag,' but in effect amount to terrorism," Alon warned, adding that these hostile acts must be stopped.
Tuesday's exchange of command ceremony (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Addressing the Palestinian conflict, Alon said that preserving the status quo is becoming increasingly difficult.
"Strategically, the gap between us and the Palestinians over core issues are growing," he said, cautioning that the Palestinian Authority might soon stop considering Hamas a "mutual enemy."
The Samaria and Binyamin settlement councils welcomed Alon's departure.
"His flaccid policy towards Arab rioters, the statements that show a clearly leftist world-view and the war on Jewish settlement have caused a great rift and a credibility crisis between the army and the settlers," they said in a statement.
"We hope that the incoming commander will disregard Nitzan Alon's legacy, and will be wise enough to establish a policy that distinguishes between an enemy and a friend and treats the Jewish settlement (movement) with the respect and fairness it deserves."
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