The IDF’s COGAT Unit: An Anachronism and A Disgrace


UPDATE 9:30 am Israel time Monday and TODAY’S BLOG:

It has been a particularly violent early morning here in southern Israel with at least 10 missiles and mortars fired at the men, women, and children who live along the Gaza border.

At 6:01 am, there were sirens for incoming Hamas terrorist rockets at Sha’ar Hanegev and Chof Ashkelon. At 6:07 am, red sirens sounded again at Sha’ar Hanegev. At 6:09 am, the Chof Ashkelon region came under missile attack from Palestinian terrorists in Gaza.  At 6:31 am, Palestinians fired at least four mortars at southern Israeli communities along the Gaza border. At 6:33 am, there were red sirens for incoming Palestinian terrorist rockets for the Chof Ashkelon region. At 6:39 am, the fifth siren since 6:01 am blared in the Chof Ashkelon region announcing even more Hamas rockets being fired at southern Israelis.

But we southern Israelis need not worry! It was revealed yet again yesterday that the IDF–COGAT (Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories) is hard at work helping the citizens . . . of Gaza.

What exactly is COGAT?  Simply put, COGAT is the “humanitarian arm” of the IDF that operates under the direct supervision of Ehud Barak, Israel’s so-called Minister of “Defense” and the ever passive Benny Gantz, IDF Chief of Staff. As its name implies, its authority is limited to Judea and Samaria (where it is reviled by Jewish community members), and Gaza. Its mission is to “facilitate humanitarian issues” with Palestinians and international NGOs (click the IDF website to read more):

Insofar as Gaza is concerned, COGAT works in conjunction with Hamas. Recently, IDF officers have been giving seminars to farmers in Gaza on how to grow spices. Subsequently, COGAT has provided those farmers with spice seedlings from Israel.

A recent COGAT agricultural seminar with Gazans (picture source: COGAT).

Yesterday came the proud announcement from COGAT about Gazan spice production: “Now, finally, this Sunday, October 21, 2012 was the inaugural export through the Kerem Shalom crossing, after which the spices are to be sent to Europe for distribution.”

As I have written in previous blogs, Israel’s involvement in these activities is impossible to understand. Why does Israeli IDF-COGAT have anything to do with Gaza?  More than seven years ago, Israel withdrew from every last millimeter, and Hamas has proudly proclaimed since then that Gaza is free of Israeli “occupation”. Yet COGAT continues to act as if Gaza is Israel’s responsibility. 

Each time that COGAT stupidly undertakes one of these projects to show Israel’s “humanitarian” side, it reinforces in the international mind that Gaza is occupied by Israel. Why the Israeli government and the IDF cannot understand this is mind-boggling.  

COGAT also helped Gazan farmers grow and export strawberries. Where do you think this picture of a "poor Gazan woman" harvesting her strawberries appeared? On a virulently anti-Israel website denouncing the Israeli occupation of Gaza.

In sum, COGAT is an anachronism and a disgrace. To begin with, any and all contact between COGAT and Hamas Gaza should be halted immediately. The IDF should focus on helping our own citizens in southern Israel instead of the citizens of Hamas Gaza.

But more than this COGAT should be disbanded. The damage it does to Israel is incalculable.

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This entry was posted in News and tagged anachronism, benny gantz, chof ashkelon, cogat, damage, disgrace, ehud barak, farmers in gaza, free of occupation, gaza border, government activities in the territories, hamas, humanitarian arm, IDF, idf chief of staff, idf website, international ngos, Israel, israel withdrew, isreal, judea and samaria, kerem shalom crossing, mind boggling, minister of defense, missiles, morning, mortars, office of the coordinator, Palestinian, red sirens, reviled, rockets, seminars, shaar hanegev, southern israel, spice production, spices, terrorists, violent. Bookmark the permalink.

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