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By the rivers of Babylon
April 21, 2008 11:45 PM   Subscribe

Tul Karem’s refugee camp, the time, if I remember correctly, Chanukah 2003, it was to execute there about 9 people. Sorry, I don’t remember the pretense we were given for the mission.
From Shovrim Shtika or Breaking the Silence where Israeli soldiers confess the horror they have visited on Hebron
posted by adamvasco (13 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
impressing site, thanks for posting.

btw: not only soldiers, settlers have their moments too.
posted by Substrata at 2:34 AM on April 22, 2008


Soliders beating up a 10 year old kid in front of his parents. Unbelievable. Respect to these ex-soldiers for being part of this project. This kind of confession takes an amazing amount of courage.
posted by gt2 at 8:28 AM on April 22, 2008


Yehuda Shaul, one of the founders of Shovrim Shtika, took me on a tour of Hebron a few years ago. It was hands-down, one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life. As he walked us through the territory known as H2, administered by the Israeli government and eyed by the settlers, we received an unsolicited escort from the IDF. Yehuda was leading us up a steep hilly road which gave a nice view of H1, the Palestinian sector, and the major thoroughfare of H2 and was describing his experiences as a soldier in Hebron. He described nightly joyrides in army jeeps in which he and his fellow soldiers would shoot out every streetlight on their route. He talked about bursting into homes and sequestering families in a single room while they occupied the remainder of the house for hours on end. He described firing his mortar into buildings from which sniper fire had been reported, watching passers-by on the street below and knowing that the drift distance of his weapon was within the space between his target and those innocents. As he talked, his eyes glazed a bit and I noticed that he was speaking over our group, addressing the 4 or 5 young soldiers in full battle gear who were tailing us. And they for their part had stopped joking and chattering into their radios and were listening to him with an intent nonchalance.

It is a great thing that Shovrim Shtika does in informing the world what is happening in the territories. But it is a far better thing that they do when they break down the walls of silence and repression that surround those who have done military service in Palestine. Israel's policies have traumatized and morally compromised entire generations of her youth. In its own small way Shovrim Shtika is pushing back against that trauma. If there is peace to be had at some point in the future, it will be because people like Yehuda spoke to soldiers like the ones who escorted my group and they, in turn, resolved not to humiliate Palestinians who themselves learned to view their Jewish neighbors as something other than brutal monsters. It's a long and tenuous chain, to be sure. But it is more real than any promises foisted upon the region by ignorant, venial or murderous rulers.
posted by felix betachat at 9:05 AM on April 22, 2008 [11 favorites]


Great story, felix, and a crucial observation.
posted by carter at 12:45 PM on April 22, 2008


I guess the remaining difference of "free societies" is that their evils get publicized.
posted by semmi at 1:13 PM on April 22, 2008


Here are some dudes who do stuff in Hebron that I respect.
posted by sy at 1:29 PM on April 22, 2008


This is a very good post.

One time hitchhiking and camping along the Mayan route, I met three Israeli girls. They were fun to be around, very self confident, and amazingly good campers. I asked them were they'd learned to pack, trek, and take good care of their stuff, and they answered "Military service". they were traveling in Central America to, "forget all that crap, and enjoy the simple life".

At one point in Chiapas, in an unofficial U.N. post in a hostel in San Cristobal, we met some people from a village that had just been attacked by the military. The soldiers had burned the granary, poured gasoline into the water cistern, and killed an elder. The villagers were claiming the land around their village as theirs, the latifundistas (and the army and the paramilitary) did not agree. Everyone there started telling their Mexican military horror stories, and wishing painful deaths on the soldiers.

2 of the girls clammed up, and did not say a word all the time they stayed there, the other one went crying into her room. I couldn't figure out what was going on, these post gives me an idea.
posted by Dr. Curare at 1:42 PM on April 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


I guess I'm not sure what the point is here. Are talking about a generic "war brutalizes people" thing or are you taking aim specifically at the Israelis (much like Palestinian terrorists aimed Katusha rockets at them earlier today)?
posted by RavinDave at 2:10 PM on April 22, 2008


I guess I'm not sure what the point is here.

really ?
try reading.
posted by Substrata at 2:56 PM on April 22, 2008


I guess the remaining difference of "free societies" is that their evils get publicized.

Is this meaning to imply that the only difference between Israel and the Palestinian state is that Israel's crimes are known, and Palestine is just as bad but no one hears about it? Really?
posted by FatherDagon at 2:56 PM on April 22, 2008


2 of the girls clammed up, and did not say a word all the time they stayed there, the other one went crying into her room.

Must have been rough on them to suddenly see exactly what they do, but through someone else's eyes. Hopefully that lesson stayed with them, and they were able to effect some change when they got back.
posted by FatherDagon at 3:11 PM on April 22, 2008


Slightly off topic, re "the remaining difference", I am reminded of toallagate, or towelgate. After Mexican president Fox is caught doing exactly what he had promised not to do in his campaign, what he had been criticizing in previous governments, he says something like "You found out in the newspapers, see, this government is more transparent than the previous ones, can I get a medal?".
posted by Dr. Curare at 3:37 PM on April 22, 2008


Hebron, except in those areas with an Israeli military presence, is Judenrein. The same applies to the rest of the West Bank and Gaza. Back in the day, there were people who attacked South Africa's liberation movement by drawing attention to Winnie Mandela's goons and the ANC's use of mob violence. These criticisms were absolutely justified, but they were motivated by a wish to perpetuate Apartheid by demonising its opponents. The people behind them wouldn't have supported anything like, say, developing an indigenous police force governed by freely elected leaders. That would have been contrary to their unspoken agenda.

I feel that these filmmakers have a similar hidden agenda. Do they want an end to Israeli military violence or do they want the Jews out of Hebron? I suspect that it's the latter, which is why there's no proposal that would lead to a civil, multicultural city. I'm not saying that military violence is justified, or at least not in all cases. I'm saying that the proposed solution (Israeli withdrawal) is morally wrong. Bring out a non-racist solution and I'll support that one.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:18 AM on April 23, 2008


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