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Text testimonies Find a few kids, call them out to come and collect all the pipe bombs, put them all in a heap, we'll blow them up and go
catalog number: 147799
Rank: Major
Unit: Reserves
Area: Bethlehem area
period: 2002
categories:
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Find a few kids, call them out to come and collect all the pipe bombs, put them all in a heap, we'll blow them up and go
Rank: Major
Unit: Reserves
Area: Bethlehem area
period: 2002

Two days before we left Bethlehem we had to secure people from the bomb clearing unit who cleared pipe bombs from around Bethlehem. After [Operation] 'Defensive Shield' there were many, many pipe bombs on the streets that weren't detonated and had to be blown up. A pipe bomb is something you hurl. It's an iron pipe full of gunpowder or explosives or something that makes it blow up, and generally when you throw it, it should explode from the blow. That's why it's so dangerous to remove them. It's like a dud bomb. It's something that should have blown up, didn't blow up the first time, and if you move it, it might blow up in your hands. [So] we began the morning with a briefing. We reached the first area where there were pipe bombs, the man from the bomb clearing unit says to me: okay, have a look inside the houses here, find a few kids, call them out to come and collect all the pipe bombs, put them all in a heap, we'll blow them up and go. My question to him was very very simple: is it dangerous? He said to me: yes. I said: okay, is it dangerous enough for something to happen? He said to me: yes. I said to him: so they can't do it, the kids, because it blows up. He said: no, it's not very dangerous. I said: If it's not very dangerous, then fine, I see there are three of you here, each one of you can pick up a few, put them in a heap, blow them up and then we'll go.

Who’s the commander of the operation, you or him? I'm the commander, he’s the technical force that actually comes to carry out the technical action needed. His reaction was – and that was actually the breaking point for me – why did you come here to me today? For three weeks now, that's what we do, everybody agrees to do it, why are you suddenly hardheaded? And I asked him what he meant to say? He said to me: We're here three weeks. Every time we find an area with explosives, pipe bombs, we take out a few kids from the nearby houses, they collect the explosives for us, we blow them up and that way we finish our day by eleven [in the morning] instead of five [in the afternoon]. Because we need to clean up an area and it's much quicker to blow up the pipe bombs when they're concentrated in one place, and not scattered around.

What does it mean to ask [the children]? And if they don't want to? I'm with a weapon in any case, it's like when you ask things of people in the territories. 'Saker el motori, iftach el bab' ('Turn off the engine, open the door' in Arabic You don't ask, you tell them that that's what they have to do. You guide them. It's like when the mafia asks for something. It's not a request you can refuse.

So what did you do? It ended up with us spending our whole day on those five devices, blowing them up with the minimum explosive materials necessary, one by one, we closed the street and did it.

Which is actually the way to do it according to procedures? It's the way to do it according to procedures, it's the way that guarantees a minimum chance of civilians and/or soldiers getting hurt, and minimizes property damage. That is to say, using as little explosive material as possible for clearing the pipe bombs. At the end of our officer reserve duty we volunteered, that was after 28 days, we said we're willing to take the weekend off and come on Monday to investigate all the exceptional incidents during 'Defensive Shield,' moral or operational, [but] they didn't want to. The army said it wasn't interested. The brigade commander and the division commander said they weren't interested.