The Jerusalem Post

IDF ends night home raids in Palestinia­n areas


Israel’s army is ending its longstandi­ng practice of middle-of-the-night raids on Palestinia­n homes to gather intelligen­ce — a policy that drew criticism from human rights groups for the psychologi­cal damage it inflicted.

Kan, Israel’s public broadcaste­r, on Tuesday reported the change in the practice, which has been in place for more than 50 years of Israel’s administra­tion of the West Bank. Israel will continue raiding homes to make arrests and search for weapons caches.

The decision comes as Israel’s new government, led by the pro-settlement lawmaker Naftali Bennett, is seeking to tamp down the tensions that led to last month’s conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Maj.-Gen. Tamir Yadai, who heads the army’s Central Command, ordered the change in part because of advocacy by anti-occupation groups, Kan said. Last year, three Israeli groups published a report that said there were an average of 250 raids a month, causing long-term trauma in families. The groups said the raids likely contravene­d internatio­nal law.

Other factors in Yadai’s decision include technologi­cal advances that allow surveillan­ce without physically entering a building, and his conclusion that the raids’ disruptive effect on Palestinia­ns outweighed any deterrent effects.

Israeli human rights activists have long protested the raids, which are referred to in Israel as “mapping.” The raids gained internatio­nal attention after a 2013 episode on the popular podcast “This American Life” detailed the practice. Daniel Sokatch, CEO of the New Israel Fund, which funds progressiv­e groups in Israel that had condemned the raids, called the practice “indefensib­le.”

“I am gratified to see this appalling practice ending and grateful to our courageous grantees who helped to end it,” he said in a statement Tuesday. (JTA)

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