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Text testimonies Causing a feeling that the IDF controls the area
catalog number: 140630
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Nahal, 50th Battalion
Area: Nablus area
period: 2013
categories:
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Causing a feeling that the IDF controls the area
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Nahal, 50th Battalion
Area: Nablus area
period: 2013

What does ‘high signature’ (activity) mean? It’s opposed to my conception before I was drafted, that we’re trying to be as invisible as possible and suddenly attack at relevant spots, like when the suspect suddenly leaves home and he doesn’t know that the Shin Bet Security Service have given us his planned route and suddenly, miraculously, a checkpoint opens for him and he understands that he’s finished. So the idea [of ‘high signature’] is the complete opposite. The idea is that as a civilian you’ll never know if there will be a checkpoint or there won’t be a checkpoint, that every Palestinian that leaves his home won’t know which route has checkpoints, and that arbitrarily there could be a checkpoint or not, an IDF jeep may be somewhere on the way, or not. And the goal is that as many people possible are aware that there could be a checkpoint when they leave home. That is, when you take a road leading out of the village, you don’t know if there will be a checkpoint or not. And as a citizen, a Palestinian, you should always have the feeling that the IDF can catch you somewhere along the way.

And what is that meant to achieve? The goal of this is deterrence, causing a feeling that the IDF controls the area. That your ability to reach point Y from point X depends on the IDF.

And these checkpoints, where did you place them? We would erect them on side routes, exiting the villages. Exactly at the points were you leave the village straight to the main road. Now, the routes into the village are always much smaller. They don’t reflect the size of the village. In a very large village you could have an access road with one lane and a half, so that cars have to crowd together in order to pass one by the other, and that’s actually the place that: one, Palestinians have to pass in order to leave the village, and, two, it’s very easy to block.

Were these checkpoints erected in a specific or fixed time during the day? There wasn’t a fixed hour or any logic, and many times it depended on the decision of the platoon commander on patrol.

The patrol commander says: Come on, let’s erect a roadblock at the exit from Qabalan? Yes, exactly. And at first I think we did it according to some definition that you have to erect one checkpoint during every patrol, or something like that. Afterwards it became much more fluid.