[[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 populationās everyday life. Their work aims to bring an end to the occupation.]]
It doesnāt seem strange to you that a kid throws a stone at another kid?
Because oneās a Jew and the otherās a Palestinian, itās as if itās okay.
Did you also see the opposite, a Palestinian throwing a stone at a Jew?
I remember that Iād say that it was kind of okay, but to myself Iād think, come on, what is he, retarded? That guy didnāt do anything to him. Iād 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. Itās the kind of thing you see on TV. So itās clear thereāll be a mess afterward. And you donāt understand which side youāre on. In Hebron itās the strangest thing, you donāt know which side youāre on. Iām a Jewish Israeli soldier, and Iām supposed to be against the Arabs because theyāre my enemy, but Iām here, next to a settlerās house in the base, and I start thinking that Iām not on their side, that the Jews arenāt 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 canāt agree with the Jews, because they started it, itās because of them that weāre here, and itās because of them that all this is happening, because they disturb them and theyāre afraid. Itās terrible, all of this . . .
So why flip the switch?
Because you have to be loyal to your side.
How old are the kids youāre 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 donāt 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 wouldnāt 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, āShut up, itās because of you that I have to be here.ā They hated being there.
Yes. I think they were mad at the settlers and at the residents of Hebron. They were angry.
Donāt the settlers bring you pizza at the post and all kinds of stuff like that?
They do, but every so often Iād hear the soldiers say, āItās because of these shits that weāre here, they should get out of here, they should leave.ā On the one hand thereās thatāagain, youāre 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 donāt thinkāyou say whatever comes into your head at the moment: now I hate this, so Iāll curse at him, and then I hate that, so Iāll curse at him, and now I hate him, so Iāll spit on him.
You spat on Jews?
No, why? They didnāt do anything to me.
What about the Arabs?
But theyāre like, Arabs . . . I donāt know, itās true, the guy I spat on didnāt do anything to me. I think he didnāt do anything at all. But again, it was cool, and it was the one thing I could do to, you know, I canāt go and arrest people and be proud that I caught a terrorist, and I canāt kill a terrorist, and I canāt 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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