Court Brings Back "Neighbor Procedure"

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The "neighbor procedure" is back in effect, after five months of judicial restrictions against it. The procedure, employed when the security forces wish to arrest a terrorist suspect, involves surrounding his house and asking an Arab neighbor to go to the door and attempt to convince the suspect to give himself up. The assumption is that the neighbor, who speaks the language and knows the suspect, will have better success in his efforts than Israeli soldiers. Supreme Court Justice Tova Strassberg-Cohen blocked the procedure last summer after one such neighbor was shot and killed from within the house in question.

Today, however, the Supreme Court accepted the IDF's position and ruled that the commanding officer on the scene could use his judgment as to whether the procedure should be used in a given situation - but only if the neighbor agrees. Col. (res.) Moshe Hager explained last summer that the procedure had been used safely many thousands of times in the past. "It actually saves Arab lives," he said, "because if we cannot catch the suspects, then we have to drop bombs on them." He also said that Israel's ethical imperative is to do whatever it has to in order to fight terrorists.


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