How did IOF become a symbol of division within the Israeli occupation?
The lack of discipline within the Israeli occupation forces reflected in actions carried out in occupied Al-Quds and the West Bank is causing discord within the political and military establishments.
Ever since the latest elections in the Israeli occupation showed right-wing and far-right parties winning the required majority for the formation of a cabinet, the Israeli occupation did not stop talking about the repercussions of the election results and its reflection on the performance of the security and military establishments.
One of the most significant establishments in the limelight is the Israeli occupation forces, or the "Israeli army", which is seen as one of the last establishments bringing illegal Israeli settlers together.
Israeli media has been criticizing the undisciplined behavior of IOF soldiers, which was prevalent in the occupied West Bank and occupied Al-Quds through various actions carried out by the occupation forces.
The actions in question have sparked a heated debate within "Israel" that reached the top of the political and military-security establishments in light of the public stances and statement, seen by many as "incitement" against senior IOF officials, as well as calls for soldiers to disobey direct orders from their superiors.
The aforementioned debate saw Chief of the General Staff of the Israeli occupation forces Aviv Kochavi stressing that he would not allow for the IOF to be used to push certain political agendas.
IOF warns government
Several Israeli media reports said Kochavi held talks with the commander of the 84th "Givati" Brigade, Colonel Eliad Maor, and the commander of the Givati infantry brigade's Tzabar battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Aviran Alfasi, during which he declared his support for the two and criticized the Knesset Members that attacked the IOF because the aforementioned officers sentenced a soldier to 10 days in military prison for taunting left-wing activists in Al-Khalil.
This comes after far-right Otzma Yehudit chief Itamar Ben Gvir condemned the IOF for punishing the soldier, prompting Kochavi to draw the line at political interference in military decisions, saying that was "unacceptable".
"Slandering commanders on political grounds is a slippery slope that we as a society must not slide down. We will not allow any politician, neither from the right nor from the left, to interfere in command decisions and use the army to promote a political agenda," Kochavi said, noting that any political interference in the IOF drastically impacts its ability to carry out tasks, as well as its so-called "legitimacy".
Kochavi had issued a letter to Israeli soldiers condemning their behavior in Al-Khalil and stressing that the IOF was an establishment that did not allow its members to express their political affiliations or carry out actions that stem from their political beliefs.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid touched on far-right MKs' criticism of the IOF and noted that the new government's ministers were already inciting the Israeli soldiers against their officers and superiors before it even started performing its duties. "The incitement against the [Israeli army's] officers is dangerous and destructive. It is unbelievable that ministers and MKs are asking soldiers to disobey their superiors," Lapid said.
Former Chief of the General Staff, the founder of the Dahya Doctrine, and Knesset member Gadi Eizenkot warned that the incoming government coalition could lead to the disintegration of the Israeli occupation forces.
Meanwhile, incoming Israeli occupation Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement commenting on the issue, saying: "The Israeli army is the army of all Israelis, and I call on everyone, whether the right or the left, to keep [the IOF] out of any political conversation."
Netanyahu had held back from commenting on the conduct of Israeli soldiers at a time when his son, Yair Netanyahu, attacked Kochavi several times over the past few days.
IOF warns of dark future
The increase in resistance operations in the occupied West Bank pushed the Israeli occupation forces to send a message to the Israeli government, basically telling "Tel Aviv" that the situation in the West Bank was getting worse.
Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth political affairs analyst Yossi Yehoshua said IOF officials were highly pessimistic regarding whether the Palestinians were heading in the coming months, especially in light of the latest security and political development.
The status quo has promoted the Israeli occupation forces to send a strategic alert to the political institutions that the situation in the occupied West Bank, occupied Al-Quds, and the Gaza Strip could deteriorate at any given moment, Yehoshua added before noting that the faces of the officers that delivered the message looked just like the intelligence they provided, i.e., they looked pessimistic.
The message came after data showed that 134 Palestinians have been martyred so far this year, a stark increase from last year's 76 martyrs, according to an Israel Hayom correspondent.
The newspaper reported that the Israeli Central Command (Pakmaz) described the latest developments in Al-Khalil, which saw a soldier facing off with several left-wing protestors, as highly dangerous, admitting that they need to find a way to nip such situations in the bud.
The correspondent, Lilach Shoval, added that the Israeli security and military establishments perceived the future with cynicism due to violence being prevalent in the occupied West Bank, where Palestinians are increasingly using firearms as the Palestinian Authority is losing its grip on the region.
Shoval also said that the aforementioned establishments were also worried about "local groups of violent subverters" in the West Bank that could try and follow in the footsteps of the Lions' Den, noting that the heightened concern within "Israel" also goes back to the stark increase in nationality-based crimes committed by Israelis against Palestinians and the Israeli occupation forces.
The uptick in violence and the Palestinian Authorities' inability to establish control over its territories sparked pessimism within the security and military establishments, Shoval claimed, adding that the latter has long been noticing the lack of governance from the PA.
Israeli Haaretz newspaper political affairs analyst Amos Harel said that the security coordination between the PA and the Israeli occupation was still working well for the occupation, especially in places where the PA had interests undermining Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement.
Harel also spoke about the IOF's preparedness for war after "Tel Aviv" called dozens of reserve battalions to service this year in an unplanned manner and against the proclaimed goals of the Chief of Staff to lessen the load on the reserve soldiers.
IOF to become an army for half the Israelis
The state of anxiety about the bleak future in the Palestinian and internal arenas, which was expressed by the IOF, was also echoed in Israeli media, whose commentators pointed out that recent events, such as the incident in Al-Khalil, indicate a division among Israeli settlers.
Militias within the IOF: Israeli Walla! website political correspondent Barak Ravid, warned that the campaign in support of the soldier who attacked a left-wing activist in Al-Khalil was a guaranteed recipe for disaster for the Israeli occupation forces, as it could dismantle it from within and turn it into a group of militias.
Kochavi's weakness: Israeli Haaretz newspaper columnist Rogel Alpher criticized Kochavi harshly. He said that the message Kochavi sent Israeli soldiers, in which he condemned the incident in Al-Khalil, proves that he completely failed on a professional and moral level.
Alpher highlighted how the IOF was acting in the West Bank contrary to the values and morals cited in Kochavi's letter. He said that the entire chain of command under Kochavi had a different spirit than the military leader wants, the spirit of Ben-Gvir. According to the writer, Kochavi's letter proves that he has no control over his soldiers' conduct, as they openly go against his directions.
Ben-Gvir's mood: The incident that took place in Al-Khalil once again caused a heated debate about the reality and repercussions of the politicization of the Israeli occupation forces and the polarization within them.
The discussion then arose about far-right MK Itamar Bin-Gvir and his prevalence within the IOF, as well as the challenges the military will face under a pure right-wing government where Ben-Gvir, a convict and Zionist extremist, the minister of security, and where Benjamin Netanyahu is the most "left-leaning" official.
In a similar vein, a recent opinion poll conducted by Israel Democracy Institute showed that the mood of the general Israeli public was becoming increasingly violent and extremist toward Palestinians.