If you gaze long enough...
Israel daily Haaretz reported last Friday
of an exhibition going on in Tel Aviv right now showcasing the excesses the IDF habitually commits in the occupied territories near Hebron,
Yehuda Shaul still can't put his finger on the exact moment in which "it all clicked" for him. Maybe it was the day when some settler girls were sitting and playing a few meters away from his post, in Gross Square in the heart of Hebron. An elderly Palestinian woman passed by, loaded down with baskets, and the girls "picked up rocks and started stoning her. When I asked them, `What are you doing?,' they said, `How do you know what she did in 1929?'"
"It's a situation that screws up everyone. Everyone goes through the same process there of the erosion of red lines and a sinking into numbness. People start out at different points and end up at different points, but everyone goes through this process. No one returns from the territories without it leaving a deep imprint, messing up his head."
"There were times when we got up in the middle of the night in some house that we'd seized - this was in the eastern casbah, we took over some guy's house - and there were really nights when we'd wake up at two in the morning, go out, put on lots and lots of grenades - this kind of grenade that you put on your weapon and that makes a lot of noise, and we'd walk among the houses and shoot and yell and make terrible noises - all just to frighten our enemies ... and that's it. I don't know if we really just made some kids cry in the middle of the night or if it really had some psychological effect on someone who wanted to hurt us." (G., a fighter in the Nahal brigade who served in Hebron and was discharged seven months ago).
Sometimes they shoot something like four bullets and the IDF, in response, goes at it for four hours."
Always in response to Palestinian gunfire?
"A lot of times, we told ourselves, they'll surely start shooting when it gets dark, at six, so why shouldn't we start shooting at 5:30, to deter them? Or they go up with the armored personnel carriers into Abu Sneina and start to spray the iturim, the selected buildings, from close up. To make a show of presence."
A sampling of the images at the exhibition here