The Israeli Defense Minister announced today that he decided to deny the joint request submitted by right-wing organizations to forbid MachsomWatch volunteers from demonstrating at checkpoints throughout the West Bank.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel, Flash90/ Channel 2 News

Right-wing organizations in Israel, with the Im Tirtzu movement at the forefront, have asked that Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman forbid volunteers with the MachsomWatch organization from demonstrating at checkpoints throughout the West Bank. They reminded Lieberman of the claim made against the organization after the recent terror attack on Har Adar, in which a volunteer was accused of yelling at and distracting one of the soldiers who was killed. Lieberman, in a surprising and uncharacteristic move, decided to reject their request.

The Defense Minister decided not to take advantage of the opportunity that the organizations undoubtedly believed they were offering him and responded by saying, “I trust the IDF, there are clear procedures,” essentially agreeing to allow MachsomWatch to continue its activities in the region.

Lieberman likely came to the conclusion that the matter was best left alone, knowing that the IDF was better off being left out of that particular political debate. In doing so, however, he disappointed many members of his party and his colleagues on the political right.

Lieberman explained: “The IDF soldiers and commanders have a wide range of tools at their disposal that enable them to prevent organization activists from breaking the law and disturbing public order. These include closing off areas, preventing travel along roads, detaining and arresting activists who violate the law, filing complaints with the police and more- all of which can be used in any incident in which operational activity is disturbed.”