Hatred, brutality and murder consume the rotten soul of Israel’s military

Alberta Arab News
October 14, 2004

What happened to Iyman Hams on Sunday, Oct. 10, gives further proof that the equation between Israel and Nazi Germany is entirely justified.

The 13-year-old girl was on her way to school near Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip when she was repeatedly shot. Eyewitnesses who were shaken by this atrocity came forward under the protection of anonymity to tell the story to Israeli television:

“We saw her from a distance of 70 metres. She was fired at… from the outpost. She fled and was wounded. I understood that she was dead. The platoon commander neared her, shot two bullets at her, returned toward the force, turned back to her, put the weapon on automatic—and emptied his entire clip. He sprayed her. We were in shock. We held our heads. We couldn’t believe what he had done. Our hearts ached for her. Just a 13-year-old girl. How do you spray a girl from close range? He was hot for a long time to take out terrorists and shot the girl to relieve pressure.”*

The deliberate murder of a Palestinian child is a common occurrence that goes on largely unnoticed, but the death of Iyman Hams brought to light more than just Zionist criminality. The eyewitnesses who brought her murder and murderer to light were the commander’s own soldiers. As happened to the German Army under Nazi rule, Israel’s occupation army is forced to disavow any recognizable code of honour, and sink to the lowest levels of inhuman depravity.

A young conscript gave this account of his disillusionment to Ha’aretz:

“The attacks, vandalism, and racist slogans are only a drop of what the Arabs of Hebron suffer daily. These actions have turned us, combat fighters, from protectors of Jews from Arab attackers to a force that protects the Arabs from the Jews. Often I’ve heard settlers complaining that we prevent them from beating up Arabs, breaking into their shops and vandalizing their property. And thus, they say, we do not protect the Jewish interests in the city. And I innocently thought my job was to preserve the Jewish and Israeli law in the city.”†

According to “settler” logic, the Nazis protected German interests by allowing Kristallnacht. More than 30 years ago, scientist and philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz dubbed these Jews “Judeo-Nazis,” and with good reason. There’s little to choose between them and the Brown Shirts. In fact, Leibowitz’s depiction has become reality. On a wall in the Jewish enclave in Hebron, was found the Star of David and the phrase “Arabs to the crematoria.” Nearby, someone else wrote “Arabs—sub-humans.”§

This is the culture the Israeli military is supposed to enforce, and more and more young officers and men are rebelling. Staff Sgt. Liaran Ron Furer wrote Checkpoints–Twilight Zone a book that details the harassment and humiliation he and other young Israeli guards inflicted on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.** This routine killing and harassment of Palestinians is destroying Israel from within just as effectively as the Intifada is destroying it from without.

In an interview with Israeli journalist Uri Blau, soldiers described how abusing Arabs is affecting them:

ROI [19, serving in Hebron]: “The only thing the army has given me is emotional trouble. It makes you indifferent. I come home and clam up, because three hours earlier I emptied a whole ammo crate, and now I’m suddenly home with my friends who live in a bubble world and don’t even watch television.” He goes on to describe some of the gratuitous cruelty meted out to Palestinians:

“ROI: We had a five-day operation in the territories on [the] firing grounds, and basically Bedouins are not allowed to be there. The officer stops the vehicle and asks, ‘Who's ready?’ I step out, another guy steps out, and then about 300 yards from us we see a poor Bedouin shepherd walking out on the grass at the firing ground. The officer says, ‘Okay, go ahead.’ We lie down, one bullet to the left of the ’herd, one bullet to the right of the ’herd…”

BLAU: “Why?”

ROI: “Because shooting live ammo has become so fluid, so trivial.”

TZVI: [20, serving in the Gaza Strip]: “You can live with having shot at an old man grazing his sheep? Just like that? If my officer were to tell me to open fire on a shepherd who's obviously not endangering anyone, I would beat my officer up.”

ROI: “Officially you don't open fire just like that. On the ground our guys would do it for the hell of it, as though they were returning fire. For them, shooting in Hebron is simply a video game.”§§

Other young Israelis can’t bring themselves to commit such crimes, which is why hundreds of them are refusing to serve. Yet in North America, where defending the myth of Israeli virtue is integral to the survival of numerous Jewish Lobby groups and power brokers, we do not read anything about refuzniks like Yonatan Ben Artzi, Ido Landau or Dan Tamir. Only when a rebellion is of such magnitude that it can’t be ignored do we hear of it. On Sept. 24, 2003, 27 reserve air force pilots publicly refused to be a party to mass murder:

“I was proud to belong to the organization called the Israel Air Force and today I am ashamed,” said Black Hawk pilot Alon. “This is an organization that carries out actions that in my eyes are immoral and patently illegal. It is an organization that has no qualms about dropping bombs—it doesn’t matter if they are 250, 500 or 1,000 kg—on the densest neighbourhoods in the world, causing massive killing of civilians…. We are not in a war for our existence. We are in a war for continuing the occupation in the territories. And in light of this dubious goal, I am not willing to be the murderer of innocent civilians.”††

When soldiers lose respect for their officers, and when officers lose respect for their government, disintegration is inevitable. Like a zombie, Israel feigns life when it is really a corpse staggering through a darkness of its own making.The final end of the Zionist Reich might well come not from the Intifada, but from Jewish soldiers who are tired of committing crimes against humanity in the name of a discredited, fascistic ideology.

*“Israeli commander accused of machine-gunning child,” Irish Examiner, Oct. 11, 2004.
† Cited in Akiva Eldar, “People and Politics / Hold off with the laurel leaves,” Ha’aretz, Jan. 24, 2003.
§ Ibid.
** “Former Israeli Soldier: ‘We behaved like animals, criminals, thieves,’ toward Palestinians,” The Palestinian Information Center, Dec. 1, 2003.
†† “Israel grounds rebel pilots,” al-Jazeera.net, Sept. 26, 2003.