By Ben Lynfield in Jerusalem
January 27 2009
The Israeli army’s chief rabbinate gave soldiers preparing to enter the Gaza Strip a booklet implying that all Palestinians are their mortal enemies and advising them that cruelty is sometimes a “good attribute”.
The booklet, entitled Go Fight My Fight: A Daily Study Table for the Soldier and Commander in a Time of War, was published especially for Operation Cast Lead, the devastating three-week campaign launched with the stated aim of ending rocket fire against southern Israel. The publication draws on the teachings of Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, head of the Jewish fundamentalist Ateret Cohanim seminary in Jerusalem.
In one section, Rabbi Aviner compares Palestinians to the Philistines, a people depicted in the Bible as a war-like menace and existential threat to Israel.
In another, the army rabbinate appears to be encouraging soldiers to disregard the international laws of war aimed at protecting civilians, according to Breaking the Silence, the group of Israeli ex-soldiers who disclosed its existence. The booklet cites the renowned medieval Jewish sage Maimonides as saying that “one must not be enticed by the folly of the Gentiles who have mercy for the cruel”.
Breaking the Silence is calling for the firing of the chief military rabbi, Brigadier-General Avi Ronzki, over the booklet. The army had no comment on the matter yesterday.
Rabbi Arik Ascherman, the executive director of the Rabbis for Human Rights group, called the booklet “very worrisome”, adding “[this is] a minority position in Judaism that doesn’t understand the … necessity of distinguishing between combatants and civilians.”
Israeli Professor: ’We Could Destroy All European Capitals’
January 26 2009
An Israeli professor and military historian hinted that Israel could avenge the holocaust by annihilating millions of Germans and other Europeans.
Speaking during an interview which was published in Jerusalem Friday, Professor Martin Van Crevel said Israel had the capability of hitting most European capitals with nuclear weapons.
“We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets of our air force.”
Creveld, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, pointed out that “collective deportation” was Israel’s only meaningful strategy towards the Palestinian people.
“The Palestinians should all be deported. The people who strive for this (the Israeli government) are waiting only for the right man and the right time. Two years ago, only 7 or 8 per cent of Israelis were of the opinion that this would be the best solution, two months ago it was 33 per cent, and now, according to a Gallup poll, the figure is 44 percent.”
Creveld said he was sure that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wanted to deport the Palestinians.
“I think it’s quite possible that he wants to do that. He wants to escalate the conflict. He knows that nothing else we do will succeed.”
Asked if he was worried about Israel becoming a rogue state if it carried out a genocidal deportation against Palestinians, Creveld quoted former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan who said “Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother.”
Creveld argued that Israel wouldn’t care much about becoming a rogue state.
“Our armed forces are not the thirtieth strongest in the world, but rather the second or third. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that this will happen before Israel goes under.”
Israel must be disarmed. They are a threat to all of Europe. Would they do it of course they would why wouldn’t they?
A few Testimonies From Soldiers:
Rank: first sergeant
I remember instances– an instance where Israeli Arabs who came out from Jenin at night at a late enough hour and it was very suspicious… Israeli Arabs who came out from Jenin– I checked– I checked their ID cards– in our post there was a placard about how forged ID cards look– their ID cards were simply a little old.
Interviewer: Regular blue cards?
Regular blue cards– the picture was cut with straight corners rather than rounded corners and that was one of the elements– it seems that that was one of the elements of the new ID cards– someone who got his ID in the 1970s which would be very logical for someone who is thirty.
Interviewer: He has an old ID
He has an old ID, not forged, we thought that we were talking here about…
Interviewer: That someone is trying to get around you?
Exactly, to get around, someone who looks like an Israeli is trying to pass into Israel– it was very worrying … they were taken but there was no proportionality– we took them and tied them up and did a kind of Shabaq investigation we crosschecked them we talked with them we yelled at them we blindfolded them we didn’t urinate on them or do anything horrible but we scared them a lot we used psychological intimidation on these two it cam–
Interviewer: What did you do?
Interviewer: How do you psychologically intimidate– how did you do that?
We tied them up, blindfolded them, stripped them completely, put them into the posts…
Interviewer: Completely? Naked naked?
No, underwear, underwear, we put them in one of the posts, anti-fire posts, fire-resistant posts– that way it’s claustrophobic– you feel these four people yelling at him you liar you terrorist
Interviewer: Was there also physical violence there?
I, I’m sure, look, I’m sure that there were also those things, I already don’t remember. Little by little it sunk in that they were Israelis, their Hebrew was good enough, their stories matched, the police came and we gave them to the officers.
Interviewer: How much time were they with you in the “investigation”?
Two hours, an hour and a half.
Interviewer: And after how much time did you call the police?
No, at the beginning we notified the brigade– I don’t think– we didn’t want to do– that is to say
Interviewer: The police took them?
Yes– I don’t know if I…
Unit: Nahal brigade
Place of incident: Atarot-Kalandia
There wasn’t really a checkpoint in Kalandia [at that time]. We would stand there at the fence of the airport, as if this was aiding the guys who were guarding the airport. There were riots and we would shoot… how do you call it –
Rubber [rubber coated metal bullets].
Rubber, stun grenades. And all the time we were playing ‘Catch’ with the kids throwing stones. We would set traps for them there.
What do you mean by traps?
Traps, let me give you a somewhat funny example. We would put a can with a stun grenade inside, take out the safety pin, and place on it sweets, desserts that we would take from the kitchen. Then the kids would come, look at them and when they picked it up, the grenade would explode in their face. That’s one. I’ll give you another example. There was a couch that they would move all day, so we would booby trap the couch with stun grenades.
Where was this couch placed?
It was placed in the middle of where we were… there was a certain place where they would throw stones. And we were sick of them, like, taking the couch. So we (grinning)… and my platoon commander were wounded during this. He tried to set a trap and a stun grenade blew up in his hand, such things, it was a period then… And let me tell you, it was a crazy time.
Rank: Staff sergeant
Unit: Armored forces
Place of incident: Daharia junction
Description: Daharia junction. South Daharia. Palestinians pass through that roadblock on their way to work in Be’er-Sheva. They have to pass; some on foot. Tens of Palestinians a day. One of the officers wanted to keep the order, wanted them to stand in a straight line – like a ruler. He ran beside them and made them straighten up. They didn’t do it well enough, so the first person he saw at the beginning – about 50 years old with an 8-year-old kid or something similar, a little boy – the officer shot in the air and they straightened up. And on another occasion…
To straighten up the line?
To straighten up the line. And on another occasion he just beat the hell out of a person… He hit the man’s face with the handle of his rifle, kicked him in the groins, spat on him, cursed him – simply went berserk. In front of the man’s little boy. He just humiliated him.
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Place of incident: South Mount Hebron
Beside ordinary roadblocks, we would also block the main access roads. What does ‘block the main access roads’ mean? They give you an enormous Volvo mechanical shovel, they say: drive along Road no.60, and block any side-road that goes into it. OK, cool. It doesn’t matter that on some of these roads there’s somebody’s home and that he has a dirt-road leading to the main road, because the Palestinian Authority’s Public Works Division doesn’t function too well. So they didn’t pave a road to the house, just a dirt road. A command is a command, and so we would block the roads… Pretty soon we’d become bored, and of course there wasn’t an officer present, and the mechanical shovel’s driver is a bored reservist, so we started doing “Monster Truck Rally” [English in the original] – in the U.S you have these trucks with enormous wheels, we started playing this “Monster Truck Rally” game: to check what the shovel can cross and what it can lift. We would approach a house: ‘c’mon, can you hoist his car up in the air?’ – ‘Look at that, I can hoist the car, I believe I can.’ Boom! He would lift it up in the air and put it down on the path, blocking his path with his own car.
And presumably leave it like that …
Yes, leave it like that. ‘Can you…’ whatever… ‘Can you hoist his terrace?’ – ‘I don’t know, it’s heavy stone.’ – ‘C’mon, Shimon, what do you mean you can’t?’ – ‘I’ll try.’ ‘C’mon.’ Boom! Lifts up his terrace. Out of boredom you overturn peoples’ terraces, their cars. You trash them. No reason, it’s just a game. You see, I was 19-20 at the time. You give a child this enormous shovel – he can do anything… He can run wild. We did run wild. We moved boulders, blocked entrances to houses, uprooted gates. Just like that, we played with the shovel. And, of course, wherever you put up barriers, they’re open again the next day. They too have shovels. So I remember how me and my friend were pissed off that they should open these barriers. I go and put up these barriers, and fuck it the next day… It took me hours to put them up. What we did was – one time we were on a patrol, and we saw this JCB shovel and stopped and said to the guy “OK now you come with us to do a job”. I don’t know where he was going, but we appropriated his JCB for a couple of hours and used it to put up barriers.
You appropriated a Palestinian shovel …
Complete with the Palestinian guy inside. We said, ‘now you block all these roads.’ We did it all over again, put all the barriers up again. We detained him for maybe 2-3 hours. I don’t know for how long. Just out of boredom. No other reason.
Rank: First Sergeant
Place of incident: Nablus
End of 2003
There was an operation where we were supposed to enter the city. We called it “Yossi Bachar’s Horror Show”. Aviv Kohavi was replaced by Yossi Bachar. You know, every new brigade commander wants to leave an impression, wants to make a big entrance. He got us into this completely useless operation… and in the end of this operation there was this part when we put ‘New-Jerseys’ roadblocks, those plastic roadblocks. So we were putting these New-Jersey’s roadblocks, and the battalion commander gave an order… because we put these New Jerseys to block the traffic… in Nablus… Getting to the point, we put these New Jerseys and the kids there, those who throw stones all the time, would come and move them away. There was a mess. We couldn’t… In the beginning we would put the New Jerseys and the local residents would move them away, so we put it again, and then there were riots and stown throwing and it became a complete mess. Then the battalion commander gave the order: “Whoever touches the roadblock, the New Jerseys, must be shot in the legs.” Live ammunition. Shoot his legs. We were, I was, supposed to do it. In my Army vehicle there was talk, and we asked whether he was out of his mind; a person touches the roadblock – are we to shoot him in the legs? [We thought] he was just making noise.
Apparently this specific battalion commander. thought very highly of setting personal example. In a roadblock he came to – I was not personally there, but the guys from the commanding crew [soldiers who join the commander on operations]… And actually this was a known case: the man drove his jeep next to some New Jersey, and saw this kid touching it – apparently at some distance – and aimed at the kid’s leg. But, you know, instead of hitting the kid in the legs he hit him in the chest, and killed him. For touching a New Jersey. If you’ll excuse me, I do not think of touching a New Jersey as a reason for death.
How do you know the kid is dead?
Hear say. But the kid is dead. This is a well-known story. We got back to base from this operation, we talked, and then the guys who were with the commanding crew say: “Hey guys, *** killed a kid, a kid murderer, kid murderer, he killed a kid.” They told us the story. People who saw it happen. I’m pretty sure. I cannot think that someone went and checked his pulse, but not many kids survive a bullet in the chest.
There are many more.