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Text testimonies A lot of guys took souvenirs
catalog number: 234658
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Engineering Corps
Area: Gaza strip
period: 2004
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A lot of guys took souvenirs
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Engineering Corps
Area: Gaza strip
period: 2004

In one of the houses in the northern Gaza Strip, someone found a beret and an armband of ‘force 17’, Arafat’s guard. I took them, just like a lot of guys took souvenirs from houses that were about to be demolished. Another time, I accidentally broke the pipe of a small water tank, so all the water leaked to the ground. It sounds insignificant compared to the destruction all around there, but that could have been their water supply. I didn’t know how long they’d collected that water and what they would do afterwards. With one movement, I denied that family showers for a month, and you accept that as reality, as a given. But afterwards, you can choose whether to go on ignoring it or to think about it more deeply, get into it, look at it from different perspectives, think what you want to take with you from it, and how you want to go on with your life in view of that. What stuck with me most is the feeling, which I only got in hindsight, that I was a part of a machine that spread a lot of devastation and fear. That fear in people’s eyes, whenever we patrolled on foot. Fear not only from us. There was a feeling that they were equally afraid of the Hamas gangs. The fear in their eyes was really obvious. And the enormous dissonance between Israel, living in a middle-class community in Israel, and being there in an environment of poverty, no sewage, no living conditions. Very very tough areas, very stricken, and you can tell that their situation used to be much better and now there’s simply massive destruction. I was left with an impression of devastation. I didn’t wound or kill anyone, maybe I saw someone shooting an innocent person once, but I was there and we blew up houses and tunnels, lots of destruction all over. Being inside a tunnel is a very very powerful experience. And then you think: “What makes people dig a tunnel?” It was very intense for me, to realize that it’s actually an act of despair. Wherever tunnels are dug, people are desperate.