As Israel continues to build new colonies in the West Bank, Israeli soldiers stationed in the West Bank city of Hebron have confessed to numerous atrocities against Palestinian civilians. The full testimonies can be read here. Sometimes, what is striking is the pettiness of the causes that leads Israeli soldiers to behave like this. For example, one IDF soldier tried to steal an old man's tobacco box during a house raid. The old man protested, calling him a thief, and they all started to beat him up heavily. The thief then took the old man's hand and wrapped barbed wire tightly round it, explaining that "He lifted a hand on me, he'll be punished." That's the deal - if the Untermenschen even lift a hand to their oppressors, they get beaten and tortured. Another old man got too close to Israeli soldiers while out walking, so they shot him. "No reason, he just got close". And so on.
However, there are also calculated attacks with intent to kill everyone in sight, regardless of whether they are armed, or defend themselves, or are unarmed non-combatants. For example, there's the testimony about a great "honour" that soldiers were given, by being allowed to swoop on a refugee camp in Tul Karem. The IDF had found that whenever they tried to raid the camp on previous occasions, the residents huddled round campfires fought back, climbing to the rooftops to shoot at the invaders. So, they decided to sneak in:
The four lit campfires we spotted were quite near each other, and near the only two or three vehicle access routes into the camp. We were told to also post sharpshooters…Our firing orders were that each squatter around the campfires should be shot just like during a liquidation operation.
Without pretense? Without arms?
Yes, even unarmed people were to be shot.
Everyone around the campfire?
Yes, everyone present at the campfire during our entry at 2AM or 3AM was to be shot to death. Regardless whether…
Regardless whether or not he was armed?
Even if he was unarmed. That wasn’t considered of any consequence. Intelligence reported that there were about 10-15 people hanging around, regardless of age, regardless of anything, everyone that….
Clearly this mission was not described as an ‘execution’. If it were one, a projectile would have been fired (at the squatters). Rather, it is described a ‘Confrontational, or violent patrol’. (e.g.a patrol aiming to draw fire, or, in this case, to shoot) Let’s say everything went as planned, how would they explain it tomorrow to the press? ‘The IDF encountered a group of armed people, (as probably there were some armed people there), and someone got wounded’, and that’s the whole story. Did you understand? And that’s the end. No mention that we came to execute.
What were you told in the briefing?
It was not described as an execution mission. Absolutely not.
How then was it described?
Like I said. Firing orders for this particular mission: Entrance (into the camp) at 2:30AM. Anyone present in the alley at that time was to be shot. There are no innocent people there. That’s the mission. No one described it as an execution mission.
Another testimony has Israeli soldiers stationed outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and instructed to fire on worshipers as they exited. "We were supposed to shoot whoever came out – doesn’t matter if he’s armed or not." [Curious thing: while I've been writing this, the contents of the online testimonies have disappeared from the original website - literally everything, including text, images and videos, has been deleted. You can of course view some caches of older material here for as long as Google keeps them up, and the booklet can at any rate be read here.] Israel's latest enemy in Hebron is Palestinian orphans.
We are on the brink of the sixtieth anniversary of the Nakba, which Israel will be celebrating with the usual aplomb during Passover. To keep the celebrations safe, they will be keeping out the Arabs - an appropriate tribute, I think, to the garrison state that has emerged from the original purification of the territory. Its systems of segregation, expropriation, blockade, colonization, airborne occupation, assassinations, demolitions, raids, checkpoint massacres, protest shoot-ups, shellings, curfews and kidnappings, has all been for the purpose of maintaining racial supremacy over the indigenous Palestinian population and eventually eliminating the very possibility of Palestine for good. So this is a logical interlude in the tortuous conquest. Lights out for the natives. Pull up the drawbridges. Man the frontiers. Fire at anything that moves. Nothing can be allowed to disturb the repose of the executioners.