Our Harsh Logic – Israeli soldiers’ testimonies from the Occupied Territories, 2000-2010 (Breaking the Silence) [2012]

harsh logic

d Idemonstrating a presence, one

”Mock operations” are another example of a ”disruption of normalcy.” In the (

t. ”Neighbor procedure” was certainly central when dealing with suspicious objects.

We’d laugh about it, we had code names: ”the lookout,” ”the drummer,” ”the woman,” ”the old man,” ”the boy,” and what was the other oneie? I’ll remember later.

They say we don’t do the ”neighbor procedure” anymore. So they v don’t call it that now. They call it ”bring a friend” or something lik^e that.


rs ”Split them «rr-l ,’..0 t^*”* ‘* on. And he explained how they can’t prove it. If someone gets hurt it’s like by a rubber bullet. ”No oi

rone. You know what image comes to mind for a Jewish soldier pointing a gun at a bunch of citizens? It popped into my head and flipped a switch. Im not comparing, not for a second, I just understand. The comparison isn’t legitim; ‘t legitimate, but the fear is … you know, that, too, began somewhere. What frightens me isn’t that we’d really do things like that, I’m jumping ahead to conclusions—but that they no longer have the same worth as other human beings.

-it’s the lack of order. I happen you have to argue with someone, explain that he :an’t go through, but what are you arguing about, really? Meaning, that’s your authority if the guy next to you is contradicting you com pletely? …impossible to get anything, any kind of coherent informatioiion. It


Aren’t there people who just want to work?

testimony catalog number: 83454
rank: Staff Sergeant
unit: Paratroopers

It was the first checkpoint in my life. At first they tell you, “They only cross with permission from Civil Administration.” Okay, you’re there, here’s the first person. You ask, “Have you got permission from Civil Administration?” “No.” “Then what have you got?” “Student ID.” You say, “Wait, in principle he’s not allowed through, but so what, let’s ask.” You get on the radio, you ask the guy in the company operations room. Who’s in the company operations room? ——, the company clerk. You ask the company clerk, “Listen, someone with a student ID, do they go through or not?” She doesn’t know. She calls the brigade operations room, they must know. Who’s in the brigade operations room? The operations sergeant. Does the operations sergeant know? She doesn’t know. She has to ask the officer. So she asks ——, the operations officer. The operations officer doesn’t know, but because he’s the operations officer he can’t let on that he doesn’t know, so he says, “Yes, someone with a student ID can pass.” Okay, fine, you can let someone with a student ID go through . . . Someone else comes, you ask, “Have you got permission from Civil Administration?” “No, but I’ve got a teacher’s license.” Wait, if you let someone through with a student ID, then what, shouldn’t you be able to go with a teacher’s license? But I don’t know, so I ask. I ask ——, again, —— doesn’t know. —— calls ——. Just then ——, the operations officer who was in some meeting, shows up, so —— says, “Okay, if you let someone through with a student ID, then someone with a teacher’s license can pass.” Of course, you don’t know all this, it’s only after the fact, when you do your turn in the operations room, that you get it. So you accept it, you say, okay, some people can pass, some can’t. Who decides? The operations sergeants decide who can cross and who can’t. And that’s when you’re still young and you listen to them. Slowly you realize that no one who comes to the checkpoint is going to say, “Listen, I just want to cross. I just want to cross because, I don’t know, I want to cross the checkpoint, I want to go over there.” Either he’s sick, or he’s a student, or he’s a teacher, or he’s from the Red Cross, or he’s from UNWRA. They pull out papers, scribbles, until you realize, the penny drops. It hit me after a month, isn’t it a bit weird? Aren’t there any ordinary people in the Territories? Aren’t there people who just want to cross? No, everyone’s either sick, or this, or that.

I remember one incident in particular. It gives me goosebumps j jui thinking about it. Someone whose olive grove they’d uprooted cam me in tears—I’m sorry, his fig grove—and he said to me, ”I plantQted this grove for ten years, I waited ten years for it to bear fruit, I enjoyed it for one year, and now they’re uprooting it.” The guy had already worked thirty years, and he says to me, ”I worked for thirty years to buy the land, I planted for another ten, and I just waited for the trees to bear fruit.” He’d o

fabric of life

institutionalizedd madness – heart of darknses x 100 – dissolve hatred – grunts do the violent parts – officers clean-handedd

The battalion commander of 605 was verv opposed to it. I think he knew about it some of the time^and when he foundoutabou^ut^^ punished_2eople and was against covering it up. But he didn’t kno ^^^^ the majority of the violent incidents. It sta^yed at the le level of sergeants, platoon commanders. At mo;

, and there’s ar^fFshore drilling rig jjomething like three and a half miles facing the Gaza Strip, which Jjj^uld be Palestinian, except that it’s ours. They y\

•kay. Where did this thing with confiscating keys come from? I don’t know who came up with it. It also doesn’t seem legal to me.

on. lyiap£ened a lot that someone would come, and you say one thing, and in the middle of the conversation another soldier comes over and savs something different. The g ……)ss. There were no clear answers, the DCL always changed its mind, it wasn’t organized, they didn’t know who could cross and who couldn’t.

Jericho is hard because of the bridge there and the people who want to go to Jordan, there are just so many people going through there. And you don’t really understand the orders. So, people can cross? They can’t cross? If they have a passport, then they can? I don’t know. The soldiers line everyone up and you have to start looking through their vegetables, inside the truck, because the day before they found a rocket in the Jenin district. And you have to check inside every ambulance . . . and the woman with the elderly mother is yelling in your face, and you yell at them all the time, “Get back, get back,” and you go crazy. At first you think you’re a Nazi soldier, you feel like some kind of Nazi soldier, then at some point you let go of that idea, because how long can you feel like you’re a Nazi? So you just go with it. And it fucks you up. Really. Any soldier who didn’t go crazy, I think there’s something wrong with him. Or he shut himself off entirely. What do you mean by “At first you think you’re a Nazi soldier”? Because you yell at them in a kind of Arabic-Hebrew, because soldiers don’t know Arabic. We know a bit, so we try to help them. Then you yell at them in a kind of Arabic-Hebrew, “Get back.” And they don’t pay attention. So you start to raise your weapon, as if you’re really going to do something with it, and everyone there, women and children start to cry, and they’re also yelling, and it’s hot, and you feel like one more second and you’ll spray them with bullets. You just don’t understand what you’re doing there. At least I didn’t.

rtidemonstrate how in many instances soldiers in the’ territories receive and carry out the instructions of settlers and security 5ordinators of settlements, especially with regard to the expulsion ( stinians from agricultural land adjacent to their settlements. Such

a. The settlers are the biggest Jewish Nazis I’ve ever met. And i …..res.Andthesoldiers_ jher^areunluck^^ Anc

it? Listen carefully—if a relative of the fourth degree, meaning your uncle’s grandfather, threw a stone back in 1948—I’m not kidding you, now—then you can’t get a work permit. ….1. So you get a sixteen-year-old boy, comes to the checkpoint all smiles>and the grandfather cr of the father of his brother threw a Molotov cockt^l in 1962. So he can’t get a work permit. So what does he do? He bypasses the checkpoint. Now, why would th this guy bypass the checkpoint—to carry out a terrorist attack? No. To work. So

inconsistency, unaccountability



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