According to the IDF, the "neighbor procedure" has been in use for over 20 years, since the Lebanon War, and the death of Nidal Abu M'khisan in 2002 was the first of its kind.
In the entire 23 years, only one Palestinian had even been hurt by this procedure and he was only lightly wounded.
The army believes that the "neighbor procedure" has proven itself over the years and saved many lives, Palestinian as well as Israeli.
The procedure generally entails little risk, according to the army. The Palestinian approaches the house alone and unarmed. His task is that of a messenger. Before he walks to the house, the army informs the fugitive using loudspeakers that they have surrounded it and call on him to give himself up.
The Palestinian "messenger" is sent when there is no response. According to the army, often the appearance of the Palestinian succeeds where the army has failed, and the fugitive surrenders. In some cases, the lives of innocent people locked up with him inside the house have also been saved.
According to the "neighbor procedure," the army will not use a "messenger" unless the commander in the field believes he is not at risk. The army confirmed that the commander had given Abu M'khisan a bulletproof vest before he approached the house of Nasser Jarrar, but maintained the vest did not indicate he felt M'khisan was in danger, but was a "double security measure."
Furthermore, when soldiers reach a Palestinian town, it makes sense to use Palestinians, since they know the area, are familiar with the houses, and know the language, the army said.
One officer said that, while the regulation is "not 100 percent okay," it is the best the army has, and had proved itself by saving many lives at no cost until now.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>