What is a drill?Attack on a settlement. Say a terrorist penetrates a settlement [then] what to do [in such a scenario]. [During a drill] you come with a bulldozer, with power shovels, tons of stuff. The settlers thought we were coming to evict a house of theirs and they start going off.
How did it get to the point of throwing a rock at someone’s head?Because we came out, we were outside so they started acting wildly, throwing things, then they rolled things down towards the IDF vehicles, poured paint, and then they threw a rock and it hit. Luckily he was wearing a helmet.
Did you receive instructions on how to deal with a settler attack against you?No. Nothing.
Did you have the authority to arrest a settler?No. That’s what the police are for. You’re not supposed to deal with Jews.
But nonetheless, they physically assaulted a soldier. Threw a rock.The officer’s a settler. He’s from Tapuach and half his family lives in Yitzhar. He’d find a way to temper it. As far as all the settlers are concerned, it’s protecting their home. You’re just protecting your home. Yitzhar is after all an isolated settlement – or the way the company commander defined it – it’s a Jewish settlement that has seven Palestinian villages strangling it.
Did you have any guidelines about what you’re supposed to do in such a case?With Jewish attacks? No. The settlers – you’re supposed to protect them. Yitzhar is a settlement with so many guard posts, and at the end of the day there are settlers that come to attack you.
In the case that they attack a soldier with a rock to the head, there’s no investigation? No sharpening of commands, instructions?No. There was a debrief in order to understand how the events unfolded, at the company and battalion level. They treated him medically and everything, and we got out of there, and the next day the border police went in and the IDF didn’t stay there. You forget that IDF soldiers, insofar as their power to respond to both Palestinians and settlers, are very limited. You’re not the border police, who have the authority to take action, to break the hands and legs of Jews and Arabs alike.
If a Palestinian were to throw a rock at a soldier’s head?They would arrest him.