IDF Dismisses Two for Vowing to Refuse to Evacuate Settlements

The soldiers urged others to refuse any command to evacuate West Bank settlements in a Facebook post.

Israeli soldiers stand with settlers from Havat Maon
Israeli soldiers stand alongside settlers from the Maon Farm outpost in the West Bank. Tomer Appelbaum

Two soldiers were dismissed from an IDF battalion Thursday after admitting they had posted pictures on Facebook calling for insubordination.

Dozens of photographs were sent to the Facebook page of the News 0404 website showing soldiers calling on others to disobey orders if instructed to evacuate West Bank settlements or illegal outposts. The protest began in the Nahal Battalion 50, currently dispatched in the West Bank, but spread to Israel proper and was taken up by soldiers who will not be sent on assignments in the West Bank.

The IDF took immediate action against the offending soldiers, in a bid to prevent a recurrence of the protest that erupted on Facebook two weeks ago, in support of a Nahal soldier who cocked his gun at Palestinian youths in the West Bank.

In response to the uproar over the occurrence earlier this month, Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said “Facebook is not a command tool…it’s not an alternative or even a parallel channel for dialogue between commanders and their soldiers.”

Battalion 50 commanders Thursday questioned soldiers about the event and eventually two soldiers confessed that they had posted the photographs on Facebook and said they did it as a prank and were just horsing around.

The soldiers were dismissed and were to attend a hearing today with Nahal Brigade Commander Col. Yehuda Fuchs.

A military source said Thursday that the soldiers in question had not been asked to evacuate any settlements or outposts, so they were not in a position to disobey any orders.

The IDF spokesman commented that “using the social network for protest is unacceptable and constitutes an infringement of the IDF’s basic values.”