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Text testimonies Almost zoo-like in a sense
catalog number: 883255
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Nahal, 50th Battalion
Area: Hebron
period: 2008
categories:
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Almost zoo-like in a sense
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Nahal, 50th Battalion
Area: Hebron
period: 2008

On Saturdays there were tours of the Casbah, which are basically a bunch of Jews from Israel, the diaspora, anywhere, who go on a tour of the Casbah through Palestinian territory that is generally closed to Jewish entry. I have no idea on what grounds they allow it, but they allow it, and we secure the tour. It means one patrol wandering around the stairs guarding from above ensuring that everything's okay, another patrol downstairs distancing possible threats from the group and the front command squad. ‬

Does the front command squad go with them?‬‬ Walks among the group, in front and in back.‬

‬What happens on these tours?‬‬ There is a sense of tension among the soldiers, since it's a dangerous situation. On the other hand, Palestinians are very indifferent to the situation, and the Jews are very excited, and it's a really absurd situation, really almost zoo-like in a sense. You enter to take a tour and look around and then you leave. To look at a place in which people live in unbearable conditions. And you pass through [and the participants are] looking and asking. And the tour guide is from the Jewish settlement in Hebron, a familiar guy. Touching merchandise, like showing the merchandise to the guys on the tour, handling it freely as if it belongs to him. I think most of the merchants who were there [were] in shock; I imagine that they always had some sort of hope that these tourists might purchase some things from them. I don't remember seeing that happening even once. ‬‬

It's on Saturday, isn't it? ‬‬ Yes, tours on Saturday. That's it, all in all even on the most basic level for soldiers it's annoying because one of the patrols that guards the tour is a patrol that supposedly just got off from a mission not long before. They're sent back to guard, they get off again and then go back to patrolling. So it kind of eats up your free time. And in general it's an annoying situation. But there's also something in it that refreshes the soldiers sometimes, I think. To see some other faces and people in different situations.‬