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Text testimonies You'll get more violent
catalog number: 117839
Rank: First Sergeant
categories:
2,177  views    3  comments
You'll get more violent

About house searches, I wanted to say that I believe that there was not one person on the team who didn't take some prayer beads or a picture or some other souvenir, and with time these became more than just prayer beads and souvenirs, people started to really look for stuff. You're searching anyway, so let's really search and look for lighters and cigarette boxes, and take such things. Finally, it got to discussions about taking money, and once they found a safe and blew it up in order to see what's inside. So a safe was blown up and a lot of money was burnt inside, and the commander wouldn't let them take the money, and they went off and talked about it for days; about why the commander was there and that they should have taken the money, they would have gotten rich. There were lots of Jordanian dinar notes.

How much was that worth?Lots. A dinar is worth five NIS. So, with time, there was moral deterioration, about what you take and what you don't. Psychologically, I think the reason is that you constantly feel you're at war with them. You don't separate. I think most Israelis don't separate – I mean there used to be Palestinian policemen, but say also between Hamas and such groups and civilians. It's all seen as one block because that's how the army is trained. To fight a war against "Them", so you're against "Them", period. It's very difficult to make this separation when you look at these people. I especially remember things being looted after the murder of the [Israeli] infant Shalhevet Pas. So later you hear a lot of people saying they all have to be killed. Sometimes it's just angry talk, but often when you take this with you into an operation, you are less likely to consider the feelings of civilians standing in front of you, and you'll get more violent, "show them what's what", with a vengeance.

You said everyone takes souvenirs, and if there are more and more searches, you tend to look more and more for your own type of souvenir. Yes.

?What's the worst thing that was taken?Weapons. If we found Kalachnikovs, there were times. . . after all, it's in battle and the commanders are especially stressed, so finally no one really notices where those weapons that we found are being kept.

People took weapons home?Yes, they found a Kalachnikov and it's nice to hang it on the wall, or something, instead of bringing it in to Military Police. Someone once took such a weapon out and no one knew where it was, really, and he wouldn't tell he had it because then he'd be punished, but the MP really wanted it, perhaps to check ballistics, see what it was used for. I don't remember how this ended, but there were often times, say even in the Muqata'a (in Ramallah), even in the quartermasters' storerooms, with lots of knives and air guns and all sorts of old pistols and people felt they deserved it…