B'Tselem: IDF Using 'Neighbor Procedure' Despite Court Order

Haaretz Service
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Haaretz Service

In a report published Thursday, human rights group B'Tselemsaid that the Israel Defense Forces is still using Palestinian citizens as 'human shields' during dangerous operations.

According to the report, the IDF has, on a number of occasions, violated the High Court of Justice ruling against the use of the 'neighbor procedure,' whereby neighbors of wanted Palestinians are forced to go into the wanted man's house ahead of troops, in case it is booby-trapped.

The human rights organization says that international humanitarian law obliges the army to remove citizens from areas of conflict and to protect them from danger during army operations. "Even if there was no apparent danger to the Palestinian who was used as a 'human shield,' the method is completely illegal," the group says.

B'Tselem also reports that the IDF tries to conceal the violations of the court order. The organization says that it has drawn the army's attention to four such cases, but the IDF has not responded to their claims and has not taken steps against those involved.

An IDF spokesman said that the army has opened about 30 investigations into cases of violation of the court order. The cases mentioned in the B'Tselem report are also being investigated, he said, and the perpetrators would be brought before the authorities to decide whether steps need to be taken. "The IDF is aware of the importance of the claims, and they will be checked carefully," he added.