8,000 reservists to be called up for disengagement
The Israel Defense Forces plans to call up close to 8,000 reservists during the implementation of the disengagement plan, from mid-August until approximately mid-September. But only a small number of officers and reservists will take an active part in the actual pullout.
This number is significantly lower than the estimates mentioned over the past months. By comparison, it amounts to merely one quarter of the number of reservists called up during Operation Defensive Shield in the West Bank in April 2002.
The reason is that the period of disengagement has been shortened significantly, from eight weeks to four. During this period, the IDF will need more reservists to replace regular units engaged in the pullout but they will serve the regular time for reserve duty - 25 days (per year). The reservists will be sent to guard the borders and to areas in the territories from where there will be no withdrawal. Relatively large numbers of reservists will be called up before the pullout begins so that the regular units will have time to prepare for disengagement.
In all, some 90 percent of reserve battalions will serve in the reserves this year, as compared with 67 percent last year.
The reservists will be called up with the regular 60 days' warning and the IDF will not resort to emergency call-ups. A senior officer said yesterday that the reservists would not feel they were doing any different duty from their regular reserve duty. However, there are some reservists who plan to refuse to serve for ideological reasons.
Some of the reservists will be called up to serve in the actual evacuation, including those in the Home Front Command and the IDF Spokesman's Office, as well as operators of heavy equipment.