Photo: Reuters
IDF roadblock (Archive photo)
Photo: Reuters
Leftist group stirs IDF row
Group that monitors troops at roadblocks invited to talk to soldiers amid objections
Women from Machsom Watch, a human rights organization that monitors soldiers and police behavior at West Bank checkpoints, were invited to talk to soldiers to prepare them for road block duty, but not everyone agrees with the initiative.


A soldier's mother turned to IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz and asked to cancel the lecture.


"You can't mix military and politics," the mother said in her letter. Right-wing activist and leader of the Women in Green movement Nadia
Matar also joined the protest.


In her letter, the mother wrote: "Machsom Watch women are supposed to speak to our sons in order to 'educate' them and 'restrain' them before they meet Arabs at the checkpoints. The Machsom Watch organization is known around the world as a left-wing organization. The women impair the soldiers' ability to function at the checkpoints, therefore risking our troops' safety."


The mother also said her son was not sent to defend the Hamas in Nablus or Tul Karem, but to defend and to sacrifice himself in defending Israeli citizens:


"On my behalf and on behalf of other parents we demand to put an end to meetings between the women of Machsom Watch and IDF soldiers. An army that doesn't allow the Chabad-Lubavitch (Hassidic movement) to hand out doughnuts in its bases, saying it's a political act, cannot even consider allowing a left-wing organization to brainwash our sons with poison".


IDF, however, said that "as part the conflict's characteristics in the West Bank against terrorist organizations that operate in the midst of the civilian population, our soldiers have to cope with the friction with that population. It was decided that soldiers from the Nachshon battalion will meet with activists from Machsom Watch ahead of the soldiers' deployment at the checkpoints where these activists operate, for the purpose of mutual understanding".


Nadia Matar, who also spends time at checkpoints, but on the other end of the political spectrum, also wrote to the chief of staff, characterizing Machsom Watch as "an organization with a pro-Palestinian agenda, and is purely anti-Israeli, serving the Palestinians' interests and values and undermining the state of Israel."


"(Machsom) Watch Women get in the way of soldiers at the checkpoints and humiliate our soldiers in front of the Arabs," she charged.


Meanwhile, Machsom Watch spokeswoman Adi Dagan told Ynet: "We received a request from the Nachson battalion, asking us to speak to the soldiers about human rights violations at checkpoints and we accepted. Our main activity is watching and documenting the (IDF's) conduct at internal (West Bank)checkpoints."


"We don't usually lecture to soldiers. With that in mind, we're always willing to talk to anyone who is interested about the travel restriction policy in the West Bank," she said.


פרסום ראשון: 02.22.06, 10:48
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