Peace activists claimed they were humiliated by IDF soldiers during a security check Friday, when they arrived at a checkpoint near Nablus with bags of clothing for Palestinian children.
Windows, a joint organization of Jews and Palestinians from both sides of the Green Line, occasionally sends aide packages to Palestinians, mainly donated clothing.
Israeli members of the organization arrived at an IDF checkpoint Friday, and began transferring the bags of clothing to a Palestinian truck. IDF troops supervised part of the transfer.
Peace activists unload donated clothing (Photo: Buma Inbar)
When the transfer was complete, the Palestinian members of the organization were asked to open the bags in order for the IDF soldiers to conduct another security check.
“The soldiers made us open the bags of clothing, and emptied them on the ground. It was extremely humiliating, I don’t know if we can still use the clothes,” said Ahmed Shataiyeh, a Palestinian peace activist.
Shataiyeh said he did not understand why the soldiers threw the clothing on the ground after having checked them already.
“The problem isn’t with the check. The problem is with the humiliation and the behavior that followed when the soldiers threw the clothes on the ground. Only God knows the effort the Windows activists put into collecting the clothes and getting them to the Palestinian children.”
Buma Inbar, an Israeli peace activist and a bereaved father, said the soldiers behaved in a way that shamed the IDF. “I don’t blame the army, because the commanders apologized for the soldiers’ behavior, but their behavior was very shameful, and I’m saying that as an Israeli and bereaved father,” Inbar said.
“The soldiers’ behavior was uncalled for. We make efforts to help Palestinians, and this is the first time we’ve encountered this kind of behavior out of the dozens of times we have transferred aid to the Palestinians,” he added.
According to an IDF spokesman, the Palestinian truck driver refused to allow the soldiers to check the bags, and began going wild.
“He threw some of the equipment on the ground and told the group of Israeli activists, who seemingly gave him the equipment as a donation, to come to the scene. The soldiers responded by picking up the equipment that was scattered, and putting it back in the Palestinian’s vehicle,” the IDF spokesman said.