Bieber to Face Disciplinary Hearing
Margot Dudkevitch, Hilary Leila Krieger, and Jpost Staff - The Jerusalem Post - June 28, 2005
Cpl. Avi Bieber - who refused to evacuate settlers who were protesting the demolition of 11 deserted structures at Shirat Hayam on Sunday - will face a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday.
Bieber will be tried by Deputy Gaza Division Commander, Col. David Menahem. He is being charged on two counts: refusing to obey orders and behavior unbecoming a soldier.
Bieber's demand on Monday to face a military court was rejected.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon condemned calls for soldiers to refuse orders. "We all have to remember that the calls to refuse and to disrupt life in Israel endanger the existence of Israel as a Jewish, democratic state," Sharon said at an annual conference of the Jewish Agency.
According to Sharon, "We must all oppose this and I am sure that all law enforcement agencies would take all the necessary measures to stop this madness. Disagreements exist and they are part of democratic process, but we cannot allow these disagreements to make us forget what we have in common."
Bieber's attorney, Shay Galili, protested in an interview to Army Radio that Bieber would not be able to defend himself and tell his version of the events.
"I just received the investigation materials now and he's going to trial in half an hour. In other words, there's no opportunity to prepare a defense. He's going like a lamb to the slaughter, alone in front of the judging officer, who, with all due respect, is a complete illiterate in the principles of judicial process. The officer is the one who decides, according to how he feels, whether someone will go to jail or not," Galili said.
The Military Advocate General's office said in response that the trial would be delayed to permit Bieber to consult with his lawyer.
An official at the Advocate's office said that the army was attempting to try all those who refuse orders before their commanding officers in order to prevent, to the best of their abilities, the holding of military trials which are open to the press.
In response to Sunday's events, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said that refusing to obey orders in the IDF was dangerous and would be handled with the utmost severity.
According to Israel Radio, Mofaz will demand of law enforcement agencies to use all legal means at their disposal in order to prosecute those who try to harm IDF soldiers.
Bieber's weapon was taken from him on Sunday, and he is confined to the base until a date for his trial is set, an IDF officer said.
See Also: Jonathan Pollard Urges Support of Soldier who Refused to Beat Jews: J4JP Release