In a disturbing display of wrong priorities, on Tuesday, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the section of the IDF that coordinates civilian issues in Judea and Samaria, dismantled a refreshment station that serves IDF soldiers free of charge.
The station, called a pina chama in Hebrew, is serviced by volunteers and is stocked with donated food and drinks. These stations host barbecues and other celebratory events on special occasions like Israel’s Independence Day. In areas like Gush Etzion where IDF operations are incredibly intensive, these rest stations are a common yet welcome sight, offering respite for hard-working soldiers.
A community spokesman told World Israel News that they had obtained permission from COGAT before setting up the station. They admitted that there may have been a misunderstanding but even if that had been the case, the authorities had not alerted them before arriving to dismantle the station which was housed in a caravan and had been serving the soldiers for over five years.
“Instead of coordinating with the community [of Nokdim] and allowing us to move the corner to another location, the administration decided to come and evacuate the station by force – immediately,” the spokesman said.
“We are trying to act to stop its removal. The chairman of the Council and the secretary of the settlement are negotiating. We will continue to build and strengthen our soldiers,” the spokesperson said.
Not to be dissuaded, local residents set up a makeshift stand at the entrance to the community in order to continue serving the soldiers.
“Although the Civil Administration removed the pina chama, we will not stop supporting our beloved soldiers,” the residents said.
Josh Hasten, the International Spokesperson for Gush Etzion, was deeply disturbed by the action.
“This was adjacent to the front gate,” Hasten told Israel365 News. “The message is that we cannot step one foot out of our homes without being curtailed. This is adjacent to the front gate so there is no chance that this was Arab land.”
“Meanwhile, there are literally thousands of Arab structures in the region that are being ignored by COGAT. It is all part of the well-known Fayad plan to take over Area C. The PA is sending these people from areas A and B into area C. In the end, the Palestinians will say that these structures have been here for generations.”
“The IDF wants to keep the peace and they know the Jews won’t make problems when they tear down our structures but the Arabs will scream and the Europeans will support them in building illegal structures.”
“We are coming up on the summer and the rest station is important to the soldiers who will be out in the heat in full gear,” Hasten said. “The army was hurting itself, a tiny volunteer effort that was entirely for the soldiers.”
Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne’eman said in a statement that the eviction of Jews harmed the Jewish presence in the region.
“The real enemy in Judea and Samaria is the illegal building and massive takeover of lands by the Arabs in area C,” Ne’eman said. “It’s a shame that the IDF and security forces are being prevented from waging a real battle against our true enemy. Instead, we woke up this morning to another unnecessary evacuation.
“The Gush Etzion Regional Council is working to establish another pina chama for our soldiers in an alternate location, so we can show our troops our appreciation and love, and say ‘thank you’ for their dedication.”
Nokdim was the home of the prophet Amos:
The words of Amos, a sheepbreeder from Tekoa, who prophesied concerning Yisrael in the reigns of Kings Uzziyahu of Yehuda and Yerovam son of Yoash of Yisrael, two years before the earthquake. Amos 1:1