Indian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel

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Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French... What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct.

 

Mahatma Gandhi

Editorial, The Harijan, 26-11-1938

Breaking the Silence: Former Israeli Defence Force Soldiers Provide Written Testimonies of Israeli Abuse Against Palestinians

BREAKING THE SILENCE:

FORMER ISRAELI DEFENCE FORCE (IDF) SOLDIERS PROVIDE WRITTEN TESTIMONIES OF

ISRAELI ABUSE AGAINST PALESTINIANS

Testimony extract taken from: http://tinyurl.com/o4okuhh

 

Ex-Israeli soldier testimony 1:

 

First week, first time at the [Israeli] checkpoint, at the passage between the Palestinian area and the street where only [Israeli] Jews can go. You need to have a fence. Those guys [the Palestinians], they have to stop, there’s a line, then they [the Palestinians] hand you their ID cards through the fence, you check them, and let them through. There  was  this…we’d[fellowjust Israelifinishedsoldier]  guy  with  me  who advanced training, got to the assignment and he yells, “Waqif! Stop!” The [Palestinian] man didn’t quite understand and advanced one more step. One extra step, and then he yells again, “Waqif!” and the [Palestinian] man freezes in fear. He didn’t quite understand what the [Israeli] soldier said...So he [my fellow Israeli soldier] decided that because the [Palestinian]… guy made this one extra step they should obey us, therefore he’ll be detained. I said to him [my fellow Israeli soldier], “Listen, what are you doing?” he said, “No, no, don’t argue, at least not in front of them [Palestinians], what are you doing, I’m not going to trust you anymore,…Eventuallyyou’renotonreliable”ofthe [Israeli] patrol commanders came over, came from up there, and I spoke to him. I said, “Listen, what’s the deal, how long do you want to detain him for?” He [the Israeli patrol commander] said, “Listen, you can do whatever you want [with the Palestinian], whatever you feel like doing. If you feel there’s a problem with what he’s done [the Palestinian], if you feel something’s wrong, even the slightest thing, you can detain him [the Palestinian] for as long as you want.” ...everyone can do whatever they want, it’s like there are no rules, everything is permissible.

 

Another thing I remember from [being stationed in the Palestinian town of Hebron], something particularly strange, was this so-called “grass widow” procedure, a house the [Israeli] army had taken over and turned into an observation post, the home of a Palestinian family …Not a family of terrorists or anything like that, just a family whose home made a good observation post, so the [Israeli] army evicted them [the Palestinian family] from the house and took it over. Now, …when I arrived at this “grass widow” we stayed there for months, I’m sure the [Palestinian] house was taken over before that, and held long after that. It’s not just the [Palestinian] family who lived in this specific house who were evicted, but also the [Palestinian] people living downstairs were evicted, to keep the area sterile for the [Israeli] army…so conceptually this was a really crazy thing, you’re in somebody’s house, and you climb the stairs of a building, everything is littered with shit, cartridges and glass on the stairs, so you can hear if anyone is approaching... there was also food left behind, there was a TV, we weren’t allowed to turn it on, this would be too much, this would be considered “bad occupation,” using their [the Palestinian family's] electricity… They [the Israeli Defence Forces] used to send us to do guard-duty near the battalion headquarters, in Harsina. It was Friday night, and the auxiliary company came up against a terrorist cell, the auxiliary company was also stationed in Harsina, they eliminated two terrorists, killed two terrorists. Friday night dinner was, of course, a very happy affair, two terrorists exterminated, it was on the news, well-publicized in the media, the whole base was jumping. As I was leaving dinner, an armored [Israeli] ambulance arrived with the terrorists’ corpses, and the sight which was revealed to me just after this delicious meal, was of two terrorists’ corpses being held up in a standing position by three [Israeli] people who were posing for photographs. Even I was shocked by this sight, I closed my eyes so as not to see and walked away, I really didn’t feel like looking at terrorists’ corpses. I think your judgment gets a little impaired when…wheneverydayyour enemy is an Arab or somebody else who in your eyes…like, you don’t look at him as a person standing in front of you, but as the enemy, and this is the word for him [the Palestinian]: enemy. He is not a dog, he is not some animal, you don’t think of him as inferior, he simply doesn’t count. Period. He [the…hePalestinian]isyourenemy,isnot and if he’s the enemy, you kill him. And if it’s him that you kill, once you’ve killed him, then it seems that there’s nothing worse you can do to him, but apparently there is.

[Israeli] Army…ifroutineyouareduringa fixedcurfewpost...is simply standing it means standing there and shouting [at Palestinians], “Waqif, taal jib al hawiyya” [Stop, come give me your ID card] there’s a curfew, go home, this is it more or less it, and saying, “I don’t care, I don’t care. No, no, no,” the word we used the most was “No.” ...a [Palestinian] child arrives, you tell him “Listen, I’ll let you pass now, but do me a favor and go home,” and five minutes later he’s back. Then you tell him, “Listen here, you said you’d go, now get lost,” and two months later, I think it’s enough, you don’t need a year, a month is enough, a week is enough for you to get fed up with this child and with all these people, you are on eight-hour guard duty, and you are so tired, and so bummed, and so burnt out and you don’t give a fuck about any of this shit, and then a [Palestinian] person comes, and you don’t care if he’s old, if he’s a man, a woman, an adult, a kid, you don’t give a damn what species, race, or color he is, he arrives and you tell him “La, ruh `al beit” [No, go home]. You tell him “turn around and go home.” I’m not interested in any excuses, I’m not interested in anything. You want to buy vegetables? What do I care about your vegetables. There’s a curfew? Period. You don’t move. Your house is in the other direction? I don’t care, find another way, you can’t pass from here. Our job was to stop the Palestinians…checkpointsat and tell them they can’t pass there anymore. Maybe a month ago they could, but now they can’t. And we knew there was another way they could pass, so on the one hand we were not allowed to let them pass, and on the other hand there were all these old [Palestinian] ladies who had to pass to get to their homes, so we’d point in the direction of the opening through which they could pass without us noticing. It was an absurd situation, we couldn’t say “we, the soldiers, did that.” Our [fellow Israeli] officers also knew about this opening. Like, they told us about it. Nobody really cared about it. …Itcheckpointmadeus. wonderWhy what we were doing at the was it forbidden [for Palestinians] to pass? It was really a form collective punishment. Any terrorist could know about and pass through the opening. It was just a form of collective punishment. You’re not allowed to pass because you’re not allowed to pass. If you want to commit a terrorist attack, turn right there and then left, but if you do not want to commit a terrorist attack you’ll have to make a very big detour or…you won’t get there at all, which was really brilliant I was ashamed of myself the day I realized that I simply enjoy the feeling of power. I don’t believe in it: I think this is not the way to do anything to anyone, surely not to someone who has done nothing to you, but you can’t help but enjoy it. People do what you tell them. You know it’s because you carry a weapon. Knowing that if you didn’t have it, and if your fellow [Israeli] soldiers weren’t beside you, they would jump on you, beat the shit out of you, and stab you to death — you begin to enjoy it. Not merely enjoy it, you need it. And then, when someone suddenly says “No” to you, what do you mean no? Where do you draw the chutzpah from, to say no to me? Forget for a moment that I actually think that all those Jews are mad, and I actually want peace and believe we should leave the [Occupied Palestinian] territories, how dare you say no to me? I am the Law! I am the Law here! And then you sort of begin to understand that it makes you feel good.

 

I remember a very specific situation: I was at a checkpoint, a temporary one, a so-called strangulation checkpoint, it was a very small checkpoint, very intimate, four soldiers, no commanding officer, no protection worthy of the name, a true moonlighting job, blocking the entrance to a [Palestinian] village. From one side a line of [Palestinian] cars wanting to get out, and from the other side a line of cars wanting to pass, a huge line, and suddenly you have a mighty force at the tip of your fingers, as if playing a computer game. I stand there like this, pointing at someone, gesturing to you to do this or that, and you do this or that, the car starts, moves toward me, halts beside me. The next car follows, you signal, it stops. You start playing with them [the Palestinians], like a computer game. You come here, you go there, like this. You barely move, you make them obey the tip of your finger. It’s a mighty feeling. It’s something you don’t experience elsewhere. You know it’s because you have a weapon, you know it’s because you are a soldier, you know all this, but its addictive. When…II checkrealized thisinwith myself to see what had happened to me.

That’s it. And it was a big bubble that burst. I thought I was immune, that is, how can someone like me, a thinking, articulate, ethical, moral man — things I can attest to about myself without needing anyone else to validate for me. I thought of myself as such. Suddenly, I notice that I’m getting addicted to controlling people.

Action alert and events

19 Aug 2015

The Palestine Solidarity Committee and Jana Natya Manch invite you to
 

PRESS CONFERENCE: ‚ÄčIndia...