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Text testimonies The entire area is cleaned and becomes very sterile
catalog number: 516197
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Nahal, 50th Battalion
Area: Hebron
period: 2016
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The entire area is cleaned and becomes very sterile
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Nahal, 50th Battalion
Area: Hebron
period: 2016

The Tomb of Othniel is in Area H1, outside of Israeli jurisdiction in Hebron, in the area under Palestinian jurisdiction. As with any tomb, it’s a pilgrimage spot for Jews on certain occasions. Once every few months there’s an actual operation for Othniel tomb. What happens is simply that to reach the Tomb of Othniel you have to leave H2 (the area of Hebron under Israeli security control) to H1. We need to receive a crowd of thousands of people, I assume, or hundreds of people, who want to make a pilgrimage, but they can’t.

People who want to pray at the tomb. Yes, and you can’t just do it like that, you can’t let them walk into an area that’s clearly hostile and a very very central area for riots. So what do you do? The entire area is cleaned [from Palestinians] and becomes a very sterile area.

How is that done? Describe it to me. The procedure is that every company sends forces to the company in charge of Tel Rumeida area, and they arrive at the area of the Shoter checkpoint and further on (into the designated area). A huge amount of troops.

How huge? 50, 100? Even between 100 and 200.

Soldiers and border police officers? Yes, and border police officers, each with his own role. So it really begins with briefings and instructions. We come in through Shoter [checkpoint) and operate 28 any possible resistance from the Shoter square, which is a center of riots in general.

[So] the moment you cross the checkpoint onto the Palestinian side, the riot immediately begins? Yes, it immediately begins, the border police officers shoot the [tear] gas, all the tear gas and stun grenades and stuff. And we start to sterilize the whole road.

That’s before it begins, before the visitors arrive? Before, yes, a few hours before. A few hours before because now it’s a procedure of everything that needs to be done: You have to tell everyone to close all their businesses, get to their cars and drive them all away, even if it’s just parked next to somebody’s house. I don’t know how to do that, [but] I do know how you tell someone to close their shop.

How do you tell someone to close their shop? You tell him: get into the car, drive away and close your shop by a certain time.

How does this bloc of 100 to 200 soldiers advance? As one bloc? There are already armed vehicles blocking the road, and then a force comes in and operates the ordeal of closing of the shops and moving of the cars, and they simply create "sleeves," a sleeve around the entire route. in every alley, every place, there are two soldiers making eye contact with another two soldiers.

That’s called a sleeve? A sleeve. A sleeve is when one or two soldiers make constant eye contact with the soldiers in front of and behind them, and actually close down the entire road, which is a commercial route and whatnot, and they stand in every alley so that no one will penetrate. And that’s it, this road is basically closed, this street, for the entire afternoon so that people can enter the tomb, and there are many groups that enter.

And they walk by foot? Yes, they walk by foot from Shoter to the tomb. It’s around a 700 or 800 meter walk.

And the moment the visitors arrive, whoever arrives, what happens? Something simply happens? No, nothing. No friction. No friction because it’s all sterile.

Can you estimate the amount of shops in those 700 to 800 meters? I don’t know. It’s not all shops, it’s also apartments, it’s a central route. It was once the main road that led to Be’er Sheva, if I’m not mistaken. There were a lot of vehicles when we were there.