Friday, November 23, 2012

No, Tony, It Isn't Rocket Science

The readers of Murdoch's Australian are often too clever by half. The following letter, for example, appeared in yesterday's edition:

"About the Middle East conflict, it occurs to me if little boys throw stones at big boys and the big boys keep coming over and beating them up, what should the little boys do? Surely the answer is to stop throwing stones. I would expect that after 65 years the message might be starting to sink in. After all, it isn't rocket science, is it? (No pun intended)." Tony Physick, Goolwa, SA

Good one, Tony, but what if the little boys aren't throwing stones but simply objecting to being pushed around by the big boys?

He's hitting an Arab, and I'm doing nothing
Unit: Nahal
Location: Hebron
Year: 2009

The forward command team... kept telling us they hit Arabs for laughs all the time. On patrols and... they always hit them, but there was one time that was my main event... One day we got an alert. We jumped up, began to gear up, me and the medic were getting the gear for the jeep, and the company commander opened his office door, came out, and said: 'Scram everybody, only me and -- are going.' He told me to leave my gear and come as I am. He wasn't wearing his bullet-proof vest or anything, just his uniform and weapon. We drove to the Pharmacy checkpoint. There were two or three kids there who wouldn't go through the metal detector. We stopped the jeep, he got off, took a boy to the alley.

One of the kids who wouldn't go through the machine?

Yeah. And then he did what he did.


He... I can see it, like a film. First he faced the kid, the kid was close to the wall, he faced him, looked at him for a second, and then choked him with the... held him like this with his elbow.

Against the wall?

Choked him up against the wall. The kid went wild, and the company commander was screaming at him, in Hebrew, not in Arabic. Then he let him go. The kid raised his hands to wipe his eyes, and the commander gave him a blow. The kid stopped wiping his eyes and dropped his hands, he left his hands at his side, and then the slapping started. The kid began to scream, it was scary, and people started coming around the checkpoint to look in the alley. Then I remember the commander coming out and telling them 'It's OK, everything's OK.' He yelled at the kid: 'Stay here, don't go anywhere.' He came out, said everything was OK, called over the squad commander from the checkpoint, stood facing the kid and told the squad commander, 'That's how you deal with them.' Then he gave the kid another two slaps and let him go...

How old was the boy?

A teenager. Not eighteen. More like thirteen, fourteen, fifteen years old.

(From Our Harsh Logic: Israeli Soldiers' Testimonies from the Occupied Territories, 2000-2010, Compiled by Breaking the Silence, 2012, pp 24-25)

It's the occupation, stupid.

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