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"A pipe bomb is something you hurl. It's an iron pipe full of gunpowder or explosives or something that makes it blow up, and generally when you throw it, it should explode from the blow. That's why it's so dangerous to remove them. It's like a dud bomb. It's something that should have blown up, didn't blow up the first time, and if you move it, it might blow up in your hands. [So] we began the morning with a briefing. We reached the first area where there were pipe bombs, the man from the bomb clearing unit says to me: okay, have a look inside the houses here, find a few kids, call them out to come and collect all the pipe bombs, put them all in a heap, we'll blow them up and go. My question to him was very very simple: is it dangerous? He said to me: yes. I said: okay, is it dangerous enough for something to happen? He said to me: yes. I said to him: so they can't do it, the kids, because it blows up. He said: no, it's not very dangerous. I said: If it's not very dangerous, then fine, I see there are three of you here, each one of you can pick up a few, put them in a heap, blow them up and then we'll go." - Major | Reserves | Bethlehem area | 2002 Link to the full testimony in the comments.
Three horrific terror attacks in the space of a week have shaken Israel. 11 men and women, Jewish and Palestinian Israelis, and foreign citizens, who until a moment ago lived their lives, are now part of the cruel statistics of 'the situation'. Last week marked 20 years since Operation Defensive Shield, a large-scale military operation in Palestinian towns and cities in the West Bank in which hundreds were killed. Whether it's the anniversary or the recent wave of terror attacks, over the last few days we've heard numerous calls for Israel to launch another military operation, 'Defensive Shield 2', but this time inside Israeli towns and cities. It appears that many of those calling for us to send infantry and tanks into civilian population centers don't remember what that means. A lot of people seem to be under the impression that it was a wonderful thing, that we showed the terrorists who's in charge. But we were there, and we remember it well. We remember the civilians we encountered, the tanks in the streets, the price that was paid. Over the next few days, we'll be publishing testimonies of soldiers who were involved in Defensive Shield, at the height of the 2nd Intifada. These are testimonies that don't always reflect exactly the reality on the ground today, but they're an important reminder for all those who think that the way to deal with terror is simply to use brute force and massive fire power in densely populated cities - that: 1) There's a price to pay, and it's often innocent people who pay it. 2) Even a large scale operation such as Defensive Shield was unable to bring the terror attacks against Israelis to a full stop. 3) A lot of people died, yet Defensive Shield was ultimately a band aid. Military operations and wars are not the solution. For too long, they've been Israel's way of "managing the conflict", but they will never solve it. Solving the conflict must begin with ending the occupation.
IDF soldiers in the West Bank aren't being allowed to finish their shifts if they haven't entered at least 50 Palestinians into the "Blue Wolf" digital surveillance database, according to the latest revelations in Haaretz.com (see link to the article in the comments). The existence of "Blue Wolf" — a smartphone app used by soldiers to take photos of Palestinians and enter their personal information into a central database — was exposed last November in the Washington Post based on soldiers' testimonies to Breaking the Silence. In November's exposé, soldiers talked about how various IDF units in the occupied territories competed for prizes to collect the data of as many Palestinians as possible. In December we learnt that the element of competition between units is literally built into the system, after the IDF's training video was leaked to the press. Today's report in Haaretz is important because it tells us what that competition looks like in practice: Collecting the personal information of Palestinians has now become so important that one soldier told Haaretz that it comes *at the expense of protecting the public*. All of which is further confirmation of what we've been saying for a long time: the occupation is much less about security than it is about control — of the land we occupy and of the millions of its Palestinian inhabitants. And if maintaining that control means sending soldiers, decade after decade, to abuse the basic rights of Palestinians - then so be it. That's the logic. And it's yet another reason why the occupation must end.