In theory, I had to go through all the villages on every patrol.
Why did you actually have to go through the villages on the patrol, what was the purpose? The purpose was to make [your] presence felt. The big idea was to create the feeling that the IDF controls the area by having a post, by having patrols that pass through [the villages], through the fact that they leave the village and will likely come across a checkpost (a flying checkpoint).
How do you know this rationale? Did someone ever explain it to you? Definitely not this way. What they told the soldiers was for instance that there is nothing to do in other places. There is no need for a patrol on an Israeli road, like, what do I as a patrol do if I’m inside an Israeli settlement. My objective is to protect the civilians and I can’t do that from inside the Israeli settlement itself. [You] have to be the first line, to take fire.
Why, actually? Your purpose is to protect the road, right? The Israeli road. So if I’m on the road?
Then you could protect it, couldn’t you? No, because you have to be one step ahead of it to protect it. Because if I’m on the road, then they’ve already thrown a rock at it and hurt me. But if I’m one step inside the village, the stone will be thrown at me and I’ve protected the road. That was the thinking. That’s what was conveyed to us.
And this idea of “this is how we’ll strengthen the IDF’s control of the area” as you say, how do you understand this? That the purpose is to put pressure on the village? I think they said it, not in such a formal way. It’s something that I told the soldiers at some point.
That’s what you conveyed? Yes, from my understanding of the situation. I understood why we were passing through the village, to make [our] presence felt. This they did tell us: the purpose of a patrol inside a village [is to make the] IDF's presence felt.
Did you keep records? Yes, on the mission papers. It was part of the...
Part of the required achievements of the patrol? You’d give a briefing to the patrol and you’d say... One of the objectives is to create a sense of [the IDF’s] presence in the villages.