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Text testimonies They encouraged us to be on good terms with the settlers
catalog number: 835946
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Nahal, 50th Battalion
Area: Nablus area
period: 2012
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They encouraged us to be on good terms with the settlers
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Nahal, 50th Battalion
Area: Nablus area
period: 2012

They really encouraged us to be on good terms with the settlers in Tapuach. Since all the men in Tapuach go to synagogue on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, two soldiers sit outside and guard them. It was the norm to eat dinner and breakfast with the families because they always invite you. They were really nice to us. You sit on a bench outside the synagogue, spend an hour, an hour and a half, two hours there, and when they finish usually someone will come and tell the soldiers “good Sabbath, good Sabbath, come eat.” You go to their house, put your equipment in the corner, keep your two-way radio on you – but as long as you’re on alert, go eat at their house, sure. It was totally routine and totally fine. People liked to go because you’d eat real people food. There were two soldiers in Tapuach and two soldiers in Eli, and two in Rahelim – in the end about eight guys got a good dinner.

When you say they encouraged it, what do you mean, as far as the officers?They saw it as something really positive, especially with the guys from Tapuach because they’re right above us, right above the post. I think they thought that it was good to be on good relations with the settlers from Tapuach. It was all fine and good until one night olive trees were uprooted. You have the settlement Tapuach and below there’s a checkpoint, and beyond the checkpoint its already territory belonging to [the village] Yasouf. There’s Yasouf’s grove, which ends in the middle - there’s Tapuach’s grove, and on the other side of Tapuach, Yasouf has another grove. When they (the Palestinians) want to pass through from one [grove] to the other, it’s in coordination with the (Civil) Administration.

Is it marked somehow?They know somehow. I didn’t understand completely how but they know. There’s also some small fence. Once during some period we would open the gate down there and let the guys from Yasouf pass through to the other grove to tend to it, which was also with us escorting.

That has to be coordinated?With the Administration, yes. We had to be there, also to make sure there wouldn’t be any friction between the populations. And then, once when they arrived in the morning and the guys from the [Civil] Administration came with them, [they saw that] there had been a few trees uprooted. It was obvious what had happened but they didn’t do anything about it, it didn’t bother anyone. It was obvious that it was guys from Tapuach who had uprooted the trees because it couldn’t have been anyone else because it’s fucking far from any other place…

What do you mean when you say it didn’t bother anyone?It was like, "OK, it happened". The guys from the [Civil] Administration didn’t like it, it annoyed them, but it’s not like we tried to find out what happened; it’s not like they said, okay, maybe we’ll station a force to guard at night. There was no action taken to prevent it – not now or in the future. It was just, OK, here, trees were uprooted, it happened, and now, OK go and take care of the trees you have left.

Did they bring the police?No.

Trackers?Nothing. Maybe they reported it to someone, but there was no interest. They looked at the tree, everyone was sad and continued on.