Voice of an Israeli soldier

“We took up positions of ”˜Straw Widow’ (a disguised ambush). We were told that this ”˜Straw Widow’ was against armed people and against people climbing on our armed vehicles. Our APCs (armed personnel carriers) were cruising 24 hours a day close to buildings (in Jenin), waiting for kids to climb on them and try to dislodge the top – mounted MG (machine gun) – and when the kids come, to shoot them. We had fixed observation posts in houses inside Jenin’s Casbah, the APCs were on the streets, below us. They were moving continuously.

“We were expressly told that we were just waiting for someone to climb on an APC. We were ordered to shoot to kill. We quickly understood that we weren’t expected to deal with armed people, as no armed Palestinian would roam the streets with so many APCs around. They (our authorities) were looking for children or plain people daring to climb on an APC or on any other armoured vehicle. We understood that from the talks with our officers.

“After a day or two, a 12-year old kid climbed on one of the APCs. There were lots of guesses about his age. First they said he was 8, later, that he was 12. I don’t know. In any case he climbed on an APC and one of our sharpshooters killed him. I already mentioned, we were looking for kids. The neighbouring company also had an incident with a kid or teenager, climbing an APC, who was also killed. Some of us said that this whole operation was unnecessary as its purpose was to kill kids, while others said that it was very good.”

1st Sergeant, Paratroops, Jenin, February-May 2003
Breaking the Silence

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