The `Neighbour' Procedure | Machsomwatch
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The `Neighbour' Procedure

ProcedureThis is a much criticized procedure whereby ordinary Palestinian civilians – neighbours – are used to act as a human shield protecting the soldiers when, for example, it is deemed necessary to break into a Palestinian home. The Israeli High Court has condemned the practice but, whether because it has become a habit or because it is simply convenient, the `neighbour procedure' is still in use and has even been adopted at the checkpoints. We have observed it at the Beit Iba checkpoints, but it is apparently also used at others, too: The soldiers, fed up with running around on the hillside in pursuit of those who try to evade the checkpoint, pick out one of the detaineesinfo-icon (q.v.) – whose ID card they have tucked away for safe keeping in someone's pocket – and order him to take off into the hills and locate and catch the `leakers' (q.v.) and bring them in to the checkpoint. And what happens if the young man takes off into the hills and decides not to turn in his friends, his neighbours, his classmates, and instead leaves them alone to evade the checkpoint as best they can? Don't worry, the Israeli army is not made up of idiots. High up in his observation tower there's a soldier armed with a special pair of field glasses through which he can see all the `leakers'. But why should he run around after them? Let the Arab chap do it for him. The chosen detainee may not know for sure that there's a soldier in the look-out tower, but he does know that if he doesn't do what's wanted of him, his ID number will remain hidden there, deep down in the GSS files, and with it he will have buried his livelihood, the welfare of his family, his studies, his health. One can but speculate on what damage this vicious practice does to the in-any-case fragile fabric of Palestinian society.