MK: 'Checkpoint Watch' Group Is Security Danger
They are called Machsom Watch [Machsom means checkpoint in Hebrew] and they claim to protect the rights of the Arabs at IDF security checkpoints in Judea and Samaria. The checkpoints were created to prevent suicide bombers from crossing into Israel. MK Aryeh Eldad (NU/NRP) says they are "a pure security risk" and is asking for an urgent meeting with Defense Minister Ehud Barak to convince him to stop the group's activity.
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According to Rika Mostov, who volunteers in a pro-Israel women's group, the Machsom Watch women incite the Arab population. "They badmouth the soldiers," she says. "They call them Nazis." She recounts the story of a soldier who was murdered by an Arab assailant who slashed his neck at the Kalandia checkpoint. "While this soldier was dying a woman from this Machsom Watch organization came and said that he deserves to die because he shouldn't be here," she said.
According to Eldad, the Machsom Watch women speak to Arabs who were detained for further investigation and then report their names to the Machsom Watch headquarters. "That report," he says "might go back to Nablus or Jenin." If the terrorists' commanders find out in real time that their men have been arrested, they could run and hide, he explains.
The senior IDF officers are afraid of negative media exposure which could affect their promotion, Eldad says, and the Machsom Watch women know this. That is why the officers often do not back their soldiers in the confrontations with Machsom Watch, he says.
Machsom Watch is backed by the New Israel Fund, which receives much of its cash from American Jews.