At the checkpost (the testifier spoke about erecting road blocks in the entrance to Palestinian villages), how do you determine who is stopped and who isn’t? Completely arbitrary. Completely arbitrary. I was in many such checkposts and, in fact, there’s no significance to the term commander at that moment. The reason to stop someone or not stop someone is solely a matter of convenience. If a truck goes by – we won’t stop it because it’s a hassle. If there’s a long line, we’ll stop every third car. If there isn’t a line, we’ll also stop cars going in the opposite direction, into [the village]. The decision not to stop cars going in depends only on the traffic, it’s not an order from above, but usually, we, at the checkpost, saw that we can’t handle two different cars coming from two different direction, there aren’t enough soldiers, so there’s a situation that we’re checking one car, and the guy from the other car gets out and we can’t handle it.
What’s the rationale of stopping people as they enter the village? Actually there’s no theoretical rationale behind it. In fact we don’t really check the cars, I mean if someone had an AK47 under the back seat, we wouldn’t find it. In general, you take someone out of his car, check his ID and ask him a few questions, that are actually meaningless: where are you from, where are you headed to, we don’t have the means to do anything with the answers, that is, most of the times we’re not familiar with the name of the villages they mention. We ask these questions only in order to show our presence there and that it’s important, the IDF wants to know where you’re from and where you’re headed. You ask questions but there’s no operational sense, not in the entrance and not in the exit. It’s as if the thing is that if, by chance, there was someone that the Shin Bet Security Service is trying to catch for five years now, but he actually leaves or enters the village every day, then we might get him.
But by now it’s not really a secret that there’s a checkpost at the exit of the village, right? Yes. Nobody ever really believed for a moment that we’ll ever catch someone at the checkpost. Nobody ever thought that would happen.
So the goal was to show high signature? Yes, high signature, and mostly the order from above that we do it every so often, so [for us] it was another form of harassment. Kitchen duty, checkpost, at the same level. Something that has to be done.