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Text testimonies They spat on me and cursed me
catalog number: 706690
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Combat intelligence
Area: Nablus area
period: 2006
categories:
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They spat on me and cursed me
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Combat intelligence
Area: Nablus area
period: 2006

After a few months doing various missions, you continued with the squad commander course and went to Nablus. What kind of operations did you do there? We were also in Elon Moreh, and operations there were about protecting the settlement itself, defense against terrorist activity.

How do you do that? You look out on the slopes that lead up to Elon Moreh, and everyone who comes close to the settlements from below is suspect.

And what do you do then? I can tell you stories from the sector, but during the time I was there, no one came up to Elon Moreh.

But what were the orders if someone did? If you identify a suspect, you shoot to kill. If he’s armed—you shoot to kill. If it’s just someone—you deploy the forces, the settlement security coordinator, whoever you need.

You deploy a civilian force? The settlement security coordinator is like an employee of the IDF. In any case, he’s connected to the military, and any report that goes over the radio he gets as well.

If in theory you see a person coming up the slope without anything on him, do you inform the settlement security coordinator? No, first you inform the brigade operations room. But the coordinator is the first responder, that’s his assignment in the settlement. I can tell you that we once identified armed men going up the slope, and they turned out to be guys from the settlement who decided to train their kids there, a kind of training camp where they taught them how to sneak into places. They didn’t coordinate this with the army, of course, and it created a big mess.

Who was armed? The teenagers and their camp counselor.

How old were the teenagers? Fifteen to seventeen, something like that.

And what happened? We reported it to the operations room, and then they sent out a team, and in the end it turned out okay, I don’t remember exactly what happened, but the guys were identified as Israelis, and so nothing happened. It was pretty stupid of them to do something like that, because another force would have shot them.

What other missions did you do aside from that? From the Elon Moreh post itself you also look out over the eastern neighborhoods of Nablus, and there you mostly accompany arrests. The distance is relatively big, so basically, you provide security on the roofs, the windows, and accompany arrests. And, of course, roving security.

What does that mean? It’s a fixed mission, it’s not the result of anything special, rather it’s just a military force protecting the settlements, the security of the surrounding settlements, whether it’s Gidonim, Yitzhar, Har Bracha, or Elon Moreh itself. Mostly roving security. That’s more or less the kind of operations we had there.

And did you encounter any settler action around the settlements there? One time, for example, we were supposed to provide security for them on a Shabbat morning hike in the valley between two villages. A whole company was attached to their hike just to provide security. Really, I’m talking about families on a picnic. A military force escorted them because their hike went through a Palestinian area. We were part of their security.

They really set up a lookout force and an escort company just for the hike? Yes.

Were you stationed specifically in Elon Moreh? Part of the force was in Elon Moreh and part in the central brigade itself.

Were there missions where you were stationed in Yitzhar, for example? Yes. The force that’s stationed in Elon Moreh stays in Elon Moreh. It doesn’t move from there. The force in the central brigade goes to Yitzhar, Har Bracha, Gidonim, to all kinds of points in the sector.

Did you encounter real terrorist activity while you were in these settlements? From incursion attempts to burning their land? No. I was there for a short time. I imagine there were stories like that, but not in my time.

And what about the opposite? Settlers against Palestinians. No. Not in my time. But there were stories there—it was a relatively sensitive period with respect to the relationship between the IDF and the settlers, because it was after the disengagement. I remember one story. I wasn’t there when this happened, but I heard that the deputy regional brigade commander of Shomron came to a Passover seder with a black eye, which he got from a settler. There were all kinds of confrontations like that. Things like that happen, though I personally didn’t see any of it. There were stories about settlers even damaging military property, slashing tires, and there was a terrible story from Yitzhar, which caused the army to remove its security detail from the settlement. Masked men from the settlement came to the gate, there was a private there who was on settlement security detail, and the masked settlers came and beat him up and took his radio. This happened a few months before I got there, I think. From my own experience, once I was in Elon Moreh and about to go on a run in the settlement when I was hit with spit and cursed at, the settlers said things like “A Jew doesn’t expel a Jew” and like that. It’s really two-faced, because on the one hand they’ll bring you cake, and on the other hand, you feel the tension and you put up with what you put up with. If I wanted to hitch a ride from the Tapuach intersection, which is forbidden but everyone does it, a resident of one of the settlements would stop for you, and the first question he’d ask was where you were during the disengagement. It’s like a ticket to get into the car. Either you justify yourself, or you hide information, or you do what I did—I closed the door and told him to keep driving.

Did you talk about it with your commanders? That the settlers were spitting on you. You tell them what happened, but the deputy brigade commander got punched by settlers in Yitzhar. Everyone knows that the situation is fraught. Nablus, Elon Moreh, Gidonim and Itamar and Yitzhar are known for being the toughest sectors, really a tough place. Ariel isn’t one of those places. You know the character of the population, so you try to cause as little friction as possible. The settlers used to visit the posts, and so the army put out an order that it’s forbidden for any civilian from Elon Moreh to be near the posts anymore. There are a few posts around there, and I believe the orders were for all of the posts.