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Text testimonies You’re allowed to do it to everyone
catalog number: 272205
Rank: Lieutenant
Unit: Paratroopers
Area: Hebron
period: 2012
41  views    0  comments
You’re allowed to do it to everyone
Rank: Lieutenant
Unit: Paratroopers
Area: Hebron
period: 2012

You were at the House of Contention (referred to as the “House of Peace” by the settlers and "Rajabi House" by the Palestinians. Combines a military base and a residential compound for settlers), you did patrols. Tell us what you do on these patrols. I remember that the mission on the patrols is mostly to make [your] presence felt. In other words, there’s no mission.

What does it mean to make [your] presence felt?I remember that you go on patrol with berets. In every other military mission I’ve been on apart from Hebron you have a helmet, either on you (on the combatant vest) or on your head, depending on the mission. [In Hebron] you walk around with berets. You like walk around in the streets, rest a little, go up on some roof, scout, go back to walking around in the streets.

Streets where there are houses of Palestinians?Yes. Where there are houses of Palestinian.

It’s quite far from the settlement points. Yes.

So why do you walk around there actually?From what I remember, the point is to protect the Tomb [of the Patriarchs]. Meaning, to make sure that suspicious people don’t go there, or that suspicious people don’t hang around the area of the Tomb, and a bit to give the Tomb kind of peripheral security, an outer circle that reaches the Tomb.

I’m asking you as an IDF officer, is it effective? How many soldiers does a patrol have?Four.

We’re talking about an area of about one square kilometer?Yes.

Can four soldiers really prevent a shooting?In terms of the [actual] area, of course not.

I want to take advantage of the fact that you’re an IDF officer, explain the operational rationale for this patrol. In terms of the mission’s ability to stop a terror attack, again, I think it’s non-existent.

Then what is it instead?The rationale I see [is] that as soon as Palestinians are constantly seeing the soldiers walking around on their streets... That’s the point – they see someone. They know that someone...

What does it do to them?Makes them understand that someone is watching them and ultimately [makes them] consider [their] conduct. And it’s not just conduct like carrying out attacks, but conduct in general. If the person who led the mission decided to search him (a Palestinian) and he wasn’t carrying anything, at the end of the day the person knew that he’s not carrying a knife and not carrying anything that could make him a suspected attacker, [but] still, when he encounters soldiers – and this [is true] in general in the [occupied] territories I think, it’s not just in Hebron – at the end of the day, when you meet a Palestinian, he’s scared of you. I think in terms of the Tomb of the Patriarchs mission, or in general [in terms of] protecting the Jewish settlement, it’s like good that they’re afraid. They’re not just scared of carrying out an attack or being suspected of carrying out an attack, they’re scared in general of encountering security forces or interacting not just with a soldier but [also] with a Jew in Hebron. [The Palestinians understand] that it’s something that’s not good for them. And this patrol, when you encounter them it makes them understand this when you stop somebody in the middle of the street, [and] ask for ID.

Just someone who’s walking by?Someone who’s walking by, a Palestinian. I mean, there are specifications for who you’re supposed to detain, that’s obvious. A specification [of] a coat on a hot day, or wearing this, or [the person is] confused, stuff like that. But ultimately, there’s no specification for who you’re not allowed to do this to, there’s a specification for who you must do it to. But in terms of what’s allowed, you’re allowed to do it to everyone.