Monday, February 1, 2016

How Israeli Settlers in Hebron View Palestinians and IDF Soldiers

Recently there has been a disturbing campaign of delegitimation targeting various NGOs in Israel. One group that has been targeted is Breaking The Silence, an organization that allows Israeli soldiers to speak out about problems within the armed forces and other related matters.

Breaking The Silence

One of their first publications was Testimonies From Hebron (2001-04). It is a collection of testimonies from Israeli soldiers describing what happened while they were in Hebron.

Let us take a look.
Listen, Arabs see the State of Israel and the Jews they know, that is, the soldiers and the settlers. They don’t know people from Tel Aviv or Kibbutzniks. (p. 12.)
And so it is noted that for most of the Palestinians of Hebron the only Jews they know of are soldiers and settlers. The situation maintained by the Israeli government has had the terrible effect of hving the Palestinians of Hebron only encounter Jews who are in a position of power over them. Many of the Palestinians of Hebron are denied the chance to meet Jews as equals.

On pages 13-14 is one particularly sobering testimony in which he states that regardless of how well one individual Israeli soldier may treat the Palestinians of Hebron someone less decent will simply arrive later.

There is one shocking testimony of a 6-7 year old settler kid doing the following to an old Palestinian man in the presence of an Israeli soldier.
The child came up, looked the Arab in the eye – mind you, this is a street where both Jews and Arabs are allowed to use – and said to him: “You filthy Arab”, spat in his face and ran off. Far away, he climbed some roof and threw stones at him. I was in shock. (pp. 15-16.)
On page 33 is a testimony indicating that Israeli police are afraid of the settlers in Hebron.
HQ tell us: “Okay, the police won’t come in, they’re afraid it would be taken as a provocation, they’re afraid the settlers will throw eggs at them... The police can’t enter the neighborhood.” So my commander goes: “Okay, there nothing we can do. Let him go.” (p. 33.)
On page 36 is another testimony indicating that the Israeli settlers in Hebron view Israeli soldiers with contempt. The Israeli soldiers are charged with protecting these settlers and yet the settlers view these soldiers with contempt.
What bothered me most of all was seeing that the people I was supposed to protect [the settlers] really looked down on me, and I ended protecting the people who were supposedly a threat to them. (p. 36.)
On page 41 is an account of a group of about fifteen French religious Jews wondering around Hebron and apparently amusing themselves by throwing stones at windows. Naturally the soldier was most unimpressed.
They were in a good mood, really having a great time, and I spent my entire shift following this gang of Jews around and trying to keep them from destroying the town. In other words, this is what they were busy doing for hours. They just wandered around, picked up every stone they saw off the ground, and started throwing them in Arabs’ windows, and overturning whatever they came across. (p. 41.)
On pages 41-42 is a testimony describing how a bunch of settler kids attacked a middle aged Palestinian rubbish truck driver.
One day, the little kids at Avraham Avinu ambushed the truck driver. They stood above the square, held large rocks in their hands – none of us saw this – and while the garbage truck came by, they threw a giant rock at the windshield. They missed and hit the top of the truck. The driver, like any normal driver would, as soon as something happens to his truck, stops the car and gets out to check the damage. We’re talking here about a 50-55 year old man. The minute he gets out he’s hit in the head by a rock, another at his back, and another rock that just missed him. I can’t tell what hell that broke loose there. We, the soldiers, were furious. (pp. 41-42.)
And what did the parents do? How did the parents of these children who attacked a hard working truck driver respond to this shameful attack?
Meanwhile, all the adults of the neighborhood arrive and start fawning over the kids: “Okay, well, kids will be kids, you can’t blame them...” and somewhere in their look you notice this gratitude, “You did me proud, son”. And the Arabs? They keep coming every day. It’s their job. (p. 42.)
Clearly the situation is most dire and severe in Hebron. It is irresponsible for the COG leaders to dogmatically proclaim that this conflict will not be solved until Jesus Christ returns. The Palestinians intimidated by these settler Israelis and scared of Israeli soldiers need this problem solved now. The Israeli soldiers ordered by their government to be stationed in Hebron to protect settlers who seem to actually view the Israeli soldiers with contempt need this problem solved now.

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