March 2nd, 2004

The IDF's Geography

The officer in charge of coordinating my reserve duty, i.e. the one subletting me for this particular assignment to some other unit (normally, my unit does not serve in the OT), has finally returned my call.

I made it clear I am showing up a week from now, at the training base (not in the OT), and that I shall refuse to guard settlements in the OT. She responded that I shouldn't be worried because those settlements are not in the OT. I was surprised. This is the same person I spoke with some two weeks ago, who admitted that the settlements I am to guard are in the OT. I asked whether we're still talking about the same mission, and she confirmed that we are. I pointed out that those settlements are patently in the OT, but she said I'm wrong. I suggested that she consult a map, so she called up the operations officer of the unit (קמב"צ), and that officer told her it's not in the OT, "but rather in the Bik'ah" (Jordan valley, north of the Dead Sea).

The settlements to the north of the dead sea are decidedly deep in the OT, but these folks seem reluctant to admit it. I'm not sure what map they are looking at, really.

After more insistence on my part, she impatiently said that I still must show up. I reiterated that I shall show up, but that I shall then refuse to go the OT. She said "My job is not to give you a geography lesson. Just show up, and you can take it up with the commander of the guarding battalion you are to be part of." I repeated that I'm announcing my refusal in advance, and explicitly asked that it be written down and that I do not expect the officer in charge to be surprised at my refusal. She said she would write down that "the soldier refuses to serve in the OT", but that "it would not be relevant because these settlements are not in the OT". Sheesh.

I guess I had better bring a map with me, just in case that other officer doesn't realize that Tomer, Yafit, and Almog are settlements in the occupied territories.
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