[[Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran combatants who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada, and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories. They endeavor to stimulate public debate about the price paid for a reality in which young soldiers face a civilian population on a daily basis, and are engaged in the control of that populationâ€™s everyday life. Their work aims to bring an end to the occupation.]]
It doesnâ€™t seem strange to you that a kid throws a stone at another kid?
Because oneâ€™s a Jew and the otherâ€™s a Palestinian, itâ€™s as if itâ€™s okay.
Did you also see the opposite, a Palestinian throwing a stone at a Jew?
I remember that Iâ€™d say that it was kind of okay, but to myself Iâ€™d think, come on, what is he, retarded? That guy didnâ€™t do anything to him. Iâ€™d think, this is what causes the whole mess, these little fights, these things that the Jews start. I know their parents teach them to hate them, and so they legitimize throwing rocks and cursing at them. Itâ€™s the kind of thing you see on TV. So itâ€™s clear thereâ€™ll be a mess afterward. And you donâ€™t understand which side youâ€™re on. In Hebron itâ€™s the strangest thing, you donâ€™t know which side youâ€™re on. Iâ€™m a Jewish Israeli soldier, and Iâ€™m supposed to be against the Arabs because theyâ€™re my enemy, but Iâ€™m here, next to a settlerâ€™s house in the base, and I start thinking that Iâ€™m not on their side, that the Jews arenâ€™t right. So wait, so no, I have to flip a switch in my brain so I can keep hating Arabs and justifying what the Jews do. But no, wait, I still canâ€™t agree with the Jews, because they started it, itâ€™s because of them that weâ€™re here, and itâ€™s because of them that all this is happening, because they disturb them and theyâ€™re afraid. Itâ€™s terrible, all of this . . .
So why flip the switch?
Because you have to be loyal to your side.
How old are the kids youâ€™re talking about?
Young, like five or six. The ones who run around outside.
Were the adults ever violent?
I remember one incident. We were on a bus, it was during the disengagement, and I donâ€™t remember what the story was, but there was some settler woman on the bus who they said was crazy. Her husband or boyfriend had been killed by a terrorist, or something like that, so she was screaming at one of the soldiers who wouldnâ€™t give her a place to sit. I remember he was concentrating on controlling himself, restraining himself, and she was hitting him, I think. He held back and held back, and then at a certain point he yelled at her, â€śShut up, itâ€™s because of you that I have to be here.â€ť They hated being there.
Yes. I think they were mad at the settlers and at the residents of Hebron. They were angry.
Donâ€™t the settlers bring you pizza at the post and all kinds of stuff like that?
They do, but every so often Iâ€™d hear the soldiers say, â€śItâ€™s because of these shits that weâ€™re here, they should get out of here, they should leave.â€ť On the one hand thereâ€™s thatâ€”again, youâ€™re mad at your country that the settlers are here, that the Jews are here. On the other hand, you also hate the Arabs, because they kill your friends and make trouble for you.
So you hate everyone?
Yes. And so I think that you donâ€™t thinkâ€”you say whatever comes into your head at the moment: now I hate this, so Iâ€™ll curse at him, and then I hate that, so Iâ€™ll curse at him, and now I hate him, so Iâ€™ll spit on him.
You spat on Jews?
No, why? They didnâ€™t do anything to me.
What about the Arabs?
But theyâ€™re like, Arabs . . . I donâ€™t know, itâ€™s true, the guy I spat on didnâ€™t do anything to me. I think he didnâ€™t do anything at all. But again, it was cool, and it was the one thing I could do to, you know, I canâ€™t go and arrest people and be proud that I caught a terrorist, and I canâ€™t kill a terrorist, and I canâ€™t go on some operation and find some weapons under some tile in their house. But I can spit on them and humiliate them and ridicule them.
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