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Text testimonies One really horrible case
catalog number: 16119
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Paratroopers
Area: Ramallah and al-Bireh area
1,960  views    0  comments
One really horrible case
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Paratroopers
Area: Ramallah and al-Bireh area

Let's get back to houses, vandalism, instances of looting. Tell me a little bit about the feelings of people entering houses, things they do, things they took. Was there any collective act of looting where people picked up electrical appliances for the company?No, but the thing is, everyone knew. It was okay, you know.

Give an example so everyone will know.Everyone knew that guys were picking up stuff. Everyone was walking around handling some prayer beads. You didn't see anyone without them and the company commander certainly knew… I remember once, the company commander saw something like that and yelled for everyone to return it all, but no one really looked into this. No one got into those things.

After coming back from the operation he told you to hand it all back?He passed on some general order that anyone who'd taken anything should give it back. He didn't check people's bags. After that house in Bituniya there was a threat, the company commander said he'd check bags. It wasn't done, not really.

To what extent was there looting? Who took stuff? Everyone or just a few?Some of the guys did.

Whoever was taking stuff was regarded as heroic? Criminal?Not a big deal.

It was common knowledge that people had picked up money here and there. What size sums?Several hundred shekels, but there were stories of thousands too. The Arabs keep their money at home, cash, as we know. Under the floor tiles… I can't say these things with certainty, but no big deal was made of this. Much larger sums were taken. People's whole savings.

Were there guys picking up electrical appliances for their company?No.

What about vandalism, cases of guys treating people's property with disrespect?There was one really horrible case in our first entry to Abu Sneina. We were in a house for some days and had to get out, and the things was that under that officer there were two soldiers, too, in my own platoon, who were very extreme with these things. Before they left that house, they simply vandalized anything they could there. They smashed floor tiles, all the lamps…

How long did you stay there?A week. Some days. One of the soldiers defecated on their bed. Like, really, all lines had been crossed. At the last moment, right before leaving, there was this crazy event, leaving Abu Sneina. The company commander had seen the house, by chance, he went in and saw it all, and he made them go back inside and fix everything, but they simply left. Simply left it all the way it was. There was nothing one could do about it. That's another instance, and these were good soldiers, and the platoon commander knew about it. I mean, there's a soldier who defecated on an Arab's bed, in his own home. I mean…

These soldiers were punished, eventually?Nothing at all. It stayed like, nothing was passed on.

Did the company commander know about it?Not about this. The company commander knew that the house had been knocked up as it should be, he didn't know about the shitting part specifically. The platoon commander did.

As far as the company commander was concerned he knew they trashed a house, and this did was not taken further anywhere?They were not punished.