Israel concerned over 'militant settlers'

Israel's security chief has warned of the growing threat from what he says are right-wing extremists opposed to the planned pullout of troops and colonists from the Gaza Strip.

    Israeli police have arrested seven 'extremists' since June

    Shin Beth director-general Avi Dichter told the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday that a recent assault on the lieutenant colonel who ordered the removal of an illegal outpost in the West Bank could be part of a growing pattern.
    Seven right-wing extremists have been arrested since the beginning of June for inciting violence against security forces who have been tasked with dismantling outposts built on occupied land, Israeli officials revealed.
    Rabbis representing the settler population in the West Bank and Gaza recently issued a religious decree forbidding the army and police from evacuating any illegal settlements on Palestinian land.
    In a bid to curb the increasing incidents of incitement, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz is to convene a meeting of senior security and judicial officials within days.

    Talking solutions

    He plans to propose a policy of prosecuting anyone calling for violence over the proposed withdrawal, army radio reported late on Sunday. 

    Israeli settlers often rebuild
    outposts pulled down by military

    The talks are likely to be attended by Dichter and chief military prosecutor Menahem Finkelstein along with representatives of the police and the state prosecutor's office.
    The officials would examine the criminal aspects of remarks or statements made by rabbis and other community leaders, the radio said.
    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wants to clear all settlers and troops out of the Gaza Strip by the end of next year as well as uprooting four settlements in the northern West Bank.
    In 1995, a Jewish extremist gunned down Labour prime minister Yitzhak Rabin at a peace rally in Tel Aviv for "betraying his people" after granting Palestinians autonomy.



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