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Text testimonies Handcuffed and blindfolded
catalog number: 59218
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Givati Brigade
Area: Gaza strip
2,077  views    0  comments
Handcuffed and blindfolded
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Givati Brigade
Area: Gaza strip

You identify some tracks in the sand and begin a chase. The chase is based on trackers; how they do it is not really relevant now, and you simply run over these tracks following the infiltrator. Usually, it is very difficult to catch these guys, because, by the time we discover that somebody has infiltrated, they've gained an advance. What's more, we were carrying all our equipment. The trackers, though, can identify their course exactly, and then, if for instance, as happened more than once or twice, that same infiltrator entered some house, you scan that house and all men 18 years old and up would be detained and interrogated. Now this is a problematic point. In most of these cases, we know in advance that we are really entering a house at random; that is, there's nothing particularly incriminating in this house. But we're not taking any risks; the men will be assembled for a Shin Bet (General Security Service) interrogation. Thing is, there are all kinds of problematic things about who takes responsibility for them - the brigade, the battalion or the Shin Bet. Actually we now have prisoners on our hands and the question is how do we move them from say post *** to post *** where the Shin Bet is stationed. The Shin Bet doesn't come to fetch them. Theoretically, it's the area brigade that's supposed to come and fetch them, but, more often than not, they don't really take responsibility for it. In the end, it's a discussion that repeats itself again and again and what eventually happens is that they wait till morning and then take them to be interrogated by the Shin Bet.

Do you stay with them in the house till morning?No, take them to the post.

What happens then?What happens, of course, is that he arrives at the post handcuffed and blindfolded by a piece of cloth so that he won't see anything, and there's a soldier who guards him during the night. It's a very problematic thing, because, most of these guys, you can't say there's specific information about them. Usually, there's no specific information about them. If anyone turns out to be wanted after the initial check, the whole business becomes faster. They come fetch and hustle them away. It is those who have nothing problematic about them who get forgotten. They may remain at the post for a few hours, handcuffed and blindfolded with a flannel [gun-cleaning] rag.

Outside?Usually outside. Sometimes they would wait outside until some commander or other says, "Okay, it's cold outside. Let's clear some space for him." The soldier responsible for him sees that he gets food as needed, water as needed; whoever has to pee is led away. In winter they see to it that they get a blanket, it's still cold because they sit on the ground, but at least it is something basic. I personally used to make sure every hour, half an hour or so, ask them if the handcuffs are too tight. If they are, you simply cut them off, put new ones more loosely, and that's that. This is according to the regulations. I don't remember cases of beating, not at my post. At least nothing that I'm familiar with. There were cases where soldiers posed for photos with them, which was also forbidden but did happen to a certain extent and to a certain extent was ignored, again it depends on who the commanders were, who saw it and how they did it, but to a certain extent it is something that is generally ignored. Verbal abuse; I also don't remember anything really out of the ordinary. The whole situation is such that nobody wants to wait 5 hours in the freezing cold handcuffed and blindfolded by a flannel rag. When, in actuality, it is clear that the next morning they'll reach Erez and two hours later, at the most, they'll reach home. That's part of the operational necessity over there; that you simply must understand that somebody could have been there and somebody could have helped there and we're not talking about some whim of some hot-headed company commander. That's why it is something calculated, that is written down in the orders, and done according to regulations. Many times the commanders would have been happy to leave them at home, because it was not something serious, without all this bother of taking them to the post and taking responsibility, but the regulations say that you do have to go through all this process. It is a long process and, despite the fact that you see to it that they get food and drink and all the basic needs and ask how they're doing and a doctor comes and sees them, despite all that, it is something that, obviously, none of us would want to go through.