MachsomWatch Defends PA Minor With Explosives at Checkpoint
A three-way meeting that was to take place in Samaria between members of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, activists from MachsomWatch, and others from Women in Blue-and-White was delayed when IDF soldiers at the Hawara checkpoint apprehended a PA minor who was carrying explosives. MachsomWatch
Members of MachsomWatch yelled at the soldiers as they struggled with the terrorist, saying, "Leave him alone, he's just a child."
activists insisted that the soldiers release the would-be terrorist.
The explosives, which the youth was carrying in his backpack, were later detonated in a controlled explosion by IDF sappers.
The incident fueled the dispute between MachsomWatch, an organization dedicated to challenging the legitimacy of IDF checkpoints, and Women in Blue-and-White, which was established to assist and encourage IDF soldiers serving at the military checkpoints. MKs who were present at the checkpoint later spoke out against members of MachsomWatch.
According to eyewitnesses, members of the extreme-left MachsomWatch tried to intervene the minute that soldiers wrestled the young man with the explosives to the ground. Members of Women in Blue-and-White said that members of MachsomWatch yelled at the soldiers as they struggled with the terrorist, saying, "Leave him alone, he's just a child."
MK Nissim Ze'ev (Shas) responded to the incident by saying, "It's clear that the more leniency we allow at the checkpoints, the more we will allow free passage to terrorists." He called for the drafting of a law distancing MachsomWatch from checkpoints.
MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima) said the MachsomWatch volunteers had good intentions, and tried to create a balance between security and treating Arabs as well as possible. However, he said, "that balance is not theirs to make," as the volunteers lack knowledge of what is or is not truly necessary for Israel's security.
According to members of Women in Blue-and-White, many conscripts and officers stationed at the checkpoints in Judea and Samaria often complain that MachsomWatch interferes with security procedures at the checkpoints. The disruptive activity even sometimes leads to PA vehicles passing unchecked through IDF roadblocks, which, the soldiers warned, could lead to a tragedy.