American anger over IDF use of US Army uniforms for prisoners in stockade
Itamar Eichner, Yediot, May 6 2010 [back-page; Hebrew original here and at bottom of post]
Anyone who happened to pass by Military Stockade 6, near Beit Oren junction, might have been puzzled by what he or she saw: is Israel keeping dozens of US Army soldiers in the military stockade? The answer, so it would seem, is no less puzzling than the question.
The IDF received a large shipment of surplus American uniforms that are marked “US Army.” The uniforms are light-colored camouflaged fatigues that US Army troops use in various theaters of operations, such as Afghanistan and Iraq. Since the uniforms are camouflaged, military officials were leery of distributing them to IDF troops, lest others mistakenly identify them as terrorists.
Instead, military officials decided to use the uniforms in the various military stockades. Reservists who were sentenced to the stockade were stunned when they were asked to put on light camouflaged uniforms marked US Army. “It seemed crazy to me to see Israeli soldiers locked up wearing American soldiers’ uniforms,” said one of the reservists.
It turns out that the Americans were not particularly pleased with the use that the IDF decided to make of their army’s uniforms. American officials said that the IDF’s decision was strange, and that it would only have been appropriate had the IDF bothered at the very least to conceal the tag marking the uniforms as belonging to the US Army.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Office issued the following response: “American uniforms that were received from US Army surpluses were disqualified for operational use in the IDF because they are camouflaged, and there is the danger of a mistake in identity in the event that they are used operationally. However, the uniforms were approved for administrative use, and that is why they were issued to military stockades, motor-pool maintenance and military factories as work fatigues—provided no one moves beyond the perimeter of the facility while wearing them.”