What were mappings? Mappings are something that I think the army doesn’t do any more, and that’s good. The mappings were, in the end, there were some houses close to the route, I was platoon commander…
In which section? In the South Hebron Hills, any village you choose that’s close to the route, or sometimes just villages that are isolated and we don’t get to them, okay? There’s no activity around the village. So you choose a few houses, give [details] to the intelligence officer, he talks to the Shabak (Israel Security Agency), clears it with them.
Clears it in what sense? Confirms that we’re allowed to move in, you have to clear these things. You go, enter these houses, knock on their doors in the middle of the night, go inside, look around, see what’s there, and conduct a search for weapons, which it really isn’t. If you really want to find weapons, you have to search for a good few hours and take the whole house apart. So you open drawers, look inside and leave. The idea is for people to know that the army’s active in the village, and to prevent any terrorist activity from developing in the village.
So what actually bothered you about it? It’s unnecessary, it doesn’t make sense. You don’t enter people’s homes just like that, because the platoon commander decided, in order to stop – how does this stop terrorist activity? Anyone who possesses weapons knows very well how to hide them, okay? What are you actually doing? They’re going to be afraid just because you entered the village? Yes, it works on a certain level, I suppose. Again, you don’t see many of the results of your actions, and that’s a pity, so maybe. I don’t really believe that someone who wanted to become a terrorist and carry out terrorist activity would hold back because you entered his house at night. On the contrary, perhaps it would push him to it. That’s one thing. Another thing is that, at least where I was involved – maybe it’s also because it was pretty clear to me that I was there to do army activity and not cause trouble – but the mere idea, when I think of it in retrospect, and I’m looking at the army too, I mean, the platoon commander can come along and decide he’s entering several houses just because he feels like it, whenever he wants – that’s not good, it’s not right, it will cause a thousand and one problems. There was, I remember, I’m not going to mention names and dates here, but there was a case of someone who stole an old man’s cane and brought it back to the company base. He was jailed for two weeks, by the way. Again, at the time there were people in the battalion who knew how to restrain these things. But it’s not right. It’s also not right from a military point of view. You’re infantry, so do infantry work. Lay ambushes, go on raids. If you have to arrest someone in a built-up area, do it. Just entering houses and talking with the population and making contact – that’s police work, not a soldier’s job. That seems to me the main problem with such actions.