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IDF is Responsible for Death of "Human Shield"

Soldiers used Nidal Abu M'khisan to get Nasser Jarrar out of his House

This evening, IDF Spokesperson admitted that IDF soldiers used a Palestinian resident of Tubas to get Nasser Jarrar to come out of his house. When the Palestinian went to the house, Jarrar shot and killed him, apparently thinking he was an IDF soldier.

Information given to B'Tselem reveals that the Palestinian who was sent to Jarrar's house and was then killed, is Nidal Abu M'khisan, aged 19, the nephew of B'Tselem field researcher 'Ali Daraghmeh. Daraghmeh, who was present at the scene, said that his nephew was taken by the soldiers and was forced to go to Jarrar's house at gunpoint.

The IDF has been using Palestinian civilians as "human shields" for some time. Since the beginning of the current Intifada, IDF soldiers have ordered Palestinian civilians to:

  • Enter buildings to check whether they are booby-trapped or to expel their occupants.
  • Remove suspicious objects from the road.
  • Stand inside houses that the IDF has turned into military positions, so that Palestinians will not fire at soldiers.
  • Walk in front of soldiers to shield them from gunfire.

Seven human rights organizations, including B'Tselem, petitioned the High Court of Justice against this IDF policy. In its response, the State admitted the existence of such a policy and announced that the IDF has decided to discontinue it. However, the State claimed it will allow the use of a Palestinian civilian to help soldiers enter Palestinian homes, unless the commander in the field believes that the civilian is liable to be injured.

The death of Abu M'khisan illustrates the illegality of the policy outlined in the State's response. Using civilians to enter homes is just as life threatening as the practices the State discontinued. The IDF must prohibit this practice as it did all others.

It is not the duty of the Palestinian population to protect IDF soldiers, but the military's. Whatever the circumstances, IDF soldiers may not endanger the lives of civilians to protect their own. Using civilians as if they were bulletproof vests and turning them into objects whose sole purpose is to protect soldiers is neither legal nor moral.