Border Police officers stop Palestinian women to check their belongings at a checkpoint in Hebron.
(photo credit: AFP PHOTO)
The IDF bowed to fierce public criticism on Tuesday and canceled a plan to attach numbered stickers to the identification cards of Palestinians living in the vicinity of the Jewish settlement in the West Bank town of Hebron.
The outrage over the proposed move was triggered after media reports indicated that for the past two weeks the Israeli army has been placing numbered stickers on the ID cards of Palestinians who move through West Bank checkpoints and roadblocks manned by IDF soldiers.
A senior military official told The Jerusalem Post
’s Hebrew-language sister publication Ma’ariv
that the original intention was to expedite the security checks and shorten the process through which Palestinians who reside near the Jewish enclave in Hebron move through the checkpoints.
Those Palestinians who do not live in that area would be subject to more stringent security checks, according to the army’s logic.
The practice of numbering IDs immediately drew comparisons to the Nazi era, when authorities forced Europe’s Jews to bear tattooed numbers on their arms.
An IDF official blasted any attempts to create parallels between the two cases, though he added that the negative public relations forced the army to reconsider the plan and, eventually, to nix it altogether.
Palestinian terrorists have perpetrated a number of attacks against the security forces in and around the Hebron area, particularly at checkpoints. The army said that it has taken pains to tighten security and prevent harm from coming to its security forces while at the same time permitting local Palestinians to maintain an uninterrupted routine.
“In light of the proliferation of terrorist attacks near the Jewish settlement of Hebron and in light of a recent situational assessment, it was decided that the neighborhood of Tel Rumeida would be declared a closed military zone,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.
“All residents of the neighborhood are permitted to move around the area after undergoing a security check before entering it. The numbering of the IDs is a local initiative meant to ease the process for Palestinians undergoing these checks.”
“As this issue came to light, it was decided that the stickers will be removed immediately, and alternate methods will be examined.”