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Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Investigation Regarding Violin Incident At Checkpoint [not asked to play]

IDF SPOKESPERSON ANNOUNCEMENT 30 November 2004
Findings of the Investigation regarding the incident of the Palestinian
playing a violin at a checkpoint near Nablus

Soldiers did not ask the Palestinian to play the violin.

"Mahsom Watch" confirm soldiers' version of the event.

This morning, November 30, 2004, an investigation was conducted by the head
of the central command, Maj. Gen. Moshe Kaplinski, regarding the documented
incident at the Beit Iba checkpoint, in which a Palestinian man is shown
playing a violin. The investigation found that the Palestinian arrived at
the checkpoint and was asked by the soldiers to open the violin case. The
Palestinian opened the case and started to play the violin of his own
volition. Several moments later, the Palestinian was asked by the Liaison
officer to stop playing.

The investigation was based on testimony of the soldiers who were at the
checkpoint at the time of the incident, footage filmed by the women of
"Mahsom Watch" and a letter written by the women of "Mahsom Watch" which
supports the soldiers' testimony, pointing out that the Palestinians was not
asked to play the violin.

The Liaison officer who checked the Palestinian has been performing his
duties professionally over a long period of time. His commanding officers
and the Palestinians with whom he works have often praised his work.

The investigation was conducted a week after the incident occurred, since
the IDF wished to conduct a thorough investigation which would include all
relevant testimony.

The GOC Central Command accepted the findings of the investigation conducted
by the brigade, which notes that the incident appears to show lack of
sensitivity, but in fact there was no intention to dishonor or disrespect
the Palestinian.

IDF activity at checkpoints is complex and difficult, and it poses numerous
dilemmas for all personnel involved. The checkpoints are a necessity for
security, and are designed to prevent terrorists, weapons and ammunition
from entering Israel. The checkpoints have been proven effective on numerous
occasions, especially the ones around Nablus.

IDF soldiers come in contact with the Palestinian population on a daily
basis, and any contact with this civilian population raises complex dilemmas
for those conducting the check, the checkpoint commander, and IDF forces.
The challenge is for the IDF to carry out thorough checks in the interest of
Israel's security, while preserving the Palestinians' dignity.

The IDF sees the operational investigations at the territorial command level
as vital, especially for incidents which include moral issues. The IDF will
continue carrying out all security operations necessary to providing the
citizens of Israel with security. These activities include operations in
crossings that are designed to prevent terror attacks within the State of
Israel.

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