IDF soldiers have been training their dogs on Palestinian vehicles by hiding explosives in the cars without the drivers’ consent.
Activists told Haaretz newspaper that soldiers from the Oketz ‘canine unit’ were stopping Palestinian cars at checkpoints to conduct the fake searches.
Tamar Fleischman, a political activist researching IDF behavior at checkpoints said soldiers were ordering passengers to exit their vehicles before dog handlers placed explosives or rifle cases inside the car.
During these ten minutes or so, the Palestinian passengers were held at gunpoint and at no time were they told that the ‘search’ was a drill exercise.
On one occasion, Fleischman said the dog in question was unable to retrieve the planted explosives so a soldier had to crawl through the vehicle instead.
Previous testimony from soldiers speaking to Breaking the Silence, an NGO operating in the West Bank, confirmed that this was usual practice from 2007 onwards.
According to one female officer, a number of soldiers were at checkpoints in the occupied West Bank “only to train the dogs”.
"We hide something in the case…like a [rifle] magazine. In the unit we use something called a snapir [fin], a stainless steel canister holding explosives held in a net, that keeps material, but allows scent to filter out," she said, adding that the container holds the blast in case it's dropped, "so no one can get hurt."
She said these stop and searches were solely targeted at Palestinians, despite numerous Israeli settlers passing through the same checkpoints. Soldiers would stop "every Arab passing by, even if his wife was giving birth." She said.
The IDF Spokesman's Office responded by saying: "following the appeal, the issue will be thoroughly examined. As a rule, the IDF conducts inspections in West Bank checkpoints as part of its routine activity, in an attempt to ensure the safety of Israel's citizens."
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