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From the field

Human Shield: Use of Palestinian Civilians as Human Shields in Violation of the High Court of Justice Order

November 2002, Summary

The report exposes a list of incidents in which the IDF violated a High Court of Justice injunction by using Palestinians as human shields (as part of the "neighbor procedure"). The report reveals for the first time that IDF soldiers also used Palestinian civilians in the action that led to the killing of Iyad Sawalha in Jenin on 9 Nov. 2002.

"The commander pulled me back and said: "We want you to go inside, call Iyad and tell him that he's better off coming out, because if he doesn't, we'll destroy his house and the houses nearby." I walked two or three meters past the wall and asked the commander what to say and who to call. I spoke out loud deliberately, because I wanted to make sure that whoever was in the alcove would not shoot me. I walked in and stood at the opening of the alcove. It was dark and I couldn't see inside. One of the soldiers was standing by the ruined wall pointing his gun at me. I called out to Iyad." From the testimony of Khaled Kamil, 11 November 2002

On 18 August 2002, following a petition filed by human rights organizations, the High Court issued a temporary injunction prohibiting IDF forces from using the "neighbor procedure." The injunction remains in force. B'Tselem's report describes several cases in which the IDF used the "neighbor procedure" after the High Court issued the injunction.

In the report's conclusions, B'Tselem urges the IDF to order its soldiers not to demand civilians to perform military assignments. The order given to soldiers must be unambiguous. B'Tselem also demands that the IDF immediately investigate all the cases appearing in the report and initiate proceedings against all soldiers involved in this forbidden practice.

On November 20, Adalah, The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment, Physicians for Human Rights - Israel, B'Tselem, The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, and HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual filed a motion for contempt of court to the High Court of Justice against the Israeli army and the government in connection with the army's continued use of Palestinian civilians as human shields. The motion, filed by Adalah asks the High Court to levy fines against the respondents, as an injunction issued by the Court on 18 August 2002, prohibits the army from continuing to use this practice.