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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 June, 2005, 15:33 GMT 16:33 UK
Dissident Israeli soldier jailed
Cpl Avi Bieber refusing to obey orders
Journalists caught Avi Bieber's refusal on camera
An Israeli soldier who refused to help demolish settler buildings in the Gaza Strip has been sentenced to jail.

A military commander jailed Cpl Avi Bieber, 19, for 56 days in a case that is being seen as an indication of how the Israeli army will treat dissenters.

He had refused on Sunday to remove right-wing Israeli protesters from a site the army was clearing.

Israel is due to withdraw its soldiers and settlers unilaterally from the Gaza Strip in August.

Pro-settler activists are encouraging soldiers to refuse to implement the disengagement.

Cpl Bieber's case shot to national prominence within hours of his detention on Sunday.

"I didn't come to Israel to beat up Jews," he shouted during the confrontation between soldiers and pro-settler activists.

Cpl Bieber came to Israel from the US with his family at the age of 10.

Settler resistance

His unit was ordered to demolish abandoned buildings which the army feared could be used as barricades by protesters.

I am especially warning against attempts by a small minority of law-breakers to use force against the army
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Pro-settler activists attempted to stop the soldiers, leading to clashes that left about 20 people injured.

Cpl Bieber refused to move against the demonstrators.

He was disciplined on charges of refusing orders and unbecoming behaviour.

He had requested a military tribunal to judge the case, which was denied.

Sentence was passed by Col David Menachem, the deputy commander of the army's Gaza Division.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has spoken out strongly against resisting the disengagement plan.

"I am especially warning against attempts by a small minority of law-breakers to use force against the army and other security forces," he said.

Cpl Bieber is the fifth soldier to refuse to participate in disengagement activities since January, the Israeli newspaper Maariv reported.

One was dismissed. The other three were not punished.

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