[News] Israeli soldiers ordered to "map entire Palestinian civilian population"
news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Sep 10 11:06:44 EDT 2015
Israeli soldiers ordered to "map entire Palestinian civilian population"
Maureen Clare Murphy
Israel’s “mapping procedure” reveals the profound control that it exerts
on Palestinians living under its military rule.
The mapping procedure unfolds much like Israel’s routine nighttime
in the occupied West Bank.
Armed soldiers surround a Palestinian family’s home in the dead of the
night. A squad bangs on the front door, waking everyone up. Once inside,
the soldiers gather the residents into a single room.
The family’s ID cards are inspected and recorded, as is how everyone is
related, and their phone numbers.
One of the family members may be taken by the soldiers as they go from
room to room, and ordered to open closet doors, or lift up mattresses.
But unlike during an arrest raid, once the soldiers have gone through
the home, they leave and move on to the next one, telling the family
that they can go back to sleep.
“Map the entire civilian population”
That is how one former Israeli soldier describes his many “mapping
missions” in Palestinian villages near Ramallah.
In the below video testimony published by the group Breaking the Silence
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/breaking-silence>, Eyal Weinberg
states that “Our objective was to map almost all of the houses and the
Palestinian population in the area. … We had to map the entire civilian
The Israeli army has aerial photos of Palestinian villages in which each
home is assigned a number. Troops are sent into the villages in the
middle of the night to collect more data on particular homes, “writing
down every possible detail about the house and its residents.”
The tables of information recorded by the soldiers are passed on to
Israel’s intelligence apparatuses.
“There are layers of information on every person or family in the
Palestinian population,” Weinberg explains.
He adds that mapping has nothing to do with investigating suspected
“terrorists” and is carried out “with the only objective of having
information about everyone.”
Though the mapping procedure may be less violent than arrest raids, and
no one is removed from the home, it certainly terrifies the Palestinian
families who are subjected to it.
A mother in Qusra village near the northern West Bank city of Nablus
to the Israeli rights group B’Tselem
<https://electronicintifada.net/tags/btselem> her fear when eight
soldiers entered her family’s home in the middle of the night in July.
“When I heard them banging on the door, my heart started racing and I
began to shake. I also felt pain in my stomach. I’m eight months
pregnant and I was afraid something would happen to my baby,” Sanaa
Arwa Abu Rida, another woman whose home was among the 19 entered that
same night, said that the soldiers looked inside the bedroom where her
two girls were sleeping, but did not wake them up.
“Why do they go to houses only at night, disturbing and scaring people?”
she asked. “I thanked God that my girls hadn’t woken up, especially the
eldest, because she’s very scared of soldiers.”
In some cases of the mapping procedure, according to B’Tselem, Israeli
soldiers record the members of a household on camera.
That may have been the case when this video was recorded
by B’Tselem volunteers in February when Israeli soldiers entered their
family’s home in the middle of the night and photographed the children
Former soldier Weinberg says that “My commanders and the GSS [Israel’s
internal intelligence apparatus, also known as Shabak or Shin Bet]
believed that there’s no such thing as innocent people. In other words,
everyone is a potential future terrorist and that’s why we have to know
The extreme violation and exploitation of Palestinians’ privacy was
protested last year
by a group of Israeli reservists affiliated with the elite “Unit 8200”
electronic espionage operation.
In their public letter, the soldiers gave a rare acknowledgment of
Israel’s spying on Palestinians in order to use personal information to
coerce them into collaborating.
Israel has even outsourced
some of this information-gathering to the Palestinian Authority and
United Nations through the Gaza reconstruction mechanism to rebuild the
nearly 100,000 homes badly damaged or destroyed last year.
There is nothing benign or impersonal about Israel’s occupation. And no
Palestinian home is safe from abuses of its power.
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