How to spend 40 years morally corrupting a society

The banality of Israel’s evil occupation is laid bare with startling descriptions in the new book by Israeli group Breaking the Silence. Former IDF soldiers recount the daily beatings, humiliation, violence and degradation handed out to Palestinians. It’s routine. It’s normalised. And it’s backed by most Western powers:

Testimony 48: “In reality you are just abusing the population”
Unit: Field Intelligence; location: South Hebron Hills; year: 2005-2008

What operations did you do in South Mount Hebron?

It’s the same operations, lookout activity. Sometimes we would”¦ the brigade would try to play with us. We would go on missions of”¦ we would join some infantry company or organize some kind of team, they would go into a house, just do whatever”¦ as a demonstration of presence. In order to draw”¦ it’s a mission which has a kind of logic, but in reality you are just abusing the population. You arrive”¦ the idea is like this: The infantry team takes control of some house; and we take one under cover so no one will know.

The Same House?

No. The house across from it. Meaning the same street. One here, one here. They make noise and chaos so there will be a protest. They really burned tires there on the house.

The Soldiers?

No, the Palestinians, because they took control of the house as a protest, meaning they put up flags, made noise, stun grenades. That was their mission.

What time was this?

It was during the day. We came at night and all the action was during the day.

At dawn?

Yes. The idea was that maybe some armed man would come to the area and then we’ll succeed in taking him down, because we are there secretly, because we are at a different corner. In reality an armed man didn’t come, fine, OK, and their house was destroyed. Tires were burned on the house. An innocent house, just a house on the map, that the Shin Bet checked and there wasn’t any”¦ that it’s really innocent population”¦ that’s what they check.

They are innocent, so you enter their house?

Yes and we destroyed the house. The windows were broken, they threw stones into the house. That’s it, an entire house was destroyed.

Where was the family?

I think they threw them out

Where was this?

It was in Yatta. So do you, like, understand? The thought at the beginning, when you sit with a map with the brigade commander, then it seems very nice”¦ ”˜you take control of this house with a demonstration of presence, you’ll be hidden, and an armed man will come and everything will be fine and dandy.’ But in the field you destroyed the house of a family and left, that’s it. And it happened every day, all the time.

It’s not an unordinary activity?

It is an activity that the infantrymen do.

Did you do it more than once or twice?

Yes, yes.

It was routine?

Yes, But that was more unique because it was in the heart of Yatta and we did it secretly.

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