In Nablus, there was another incident with my original team. I wasn’t there but they told me about it afterward.
The guys from your team?
Yes. They go into a house, part of what’s called “personal pressure,” the whole idea is that you go in . . . you rest inside the house. Meaning, you move the family to some room and you rest, you make a kind of war room in some room, in the living room or I don’t know . . . whatever room you come across. But there was one time when they came, they went in, and they wanted to watch something on TV. So they took the family and put them in another room. The family was sitting near the TV, but the soldiers wanted to watch something, they took the family, moved them into a different room so they could watch something. There was an explicit rule not to do something like that, not even to sit on the chairs. When I went around, I normally went around with the deputy company commander, wherever he went around, he made sure the soldiers didn’t . . . the team above me, they sat on the sofas and moved the family. But this was an incident the team talked about a lot. That it was pretty ridiculous.
What did they say about it?
That they came and moved the family. You get it, it’s a bit ridiculous. You want to watch something on TV, you’re in the middle of an operation, so you take the family, you sit in the living room so you can watch. There’s no target.
What was it?
What was it? I don’t know, soccer, something with soccer. It’s not that important why. That’s true of most of the things I encountered during my service. Not so much big things, more little things that created a certain feeling, a certain atmosphere.
First, that it doesn’t matter what you do, you always come out okay. Meaning, I could slap people, hit them, shoot someone in the leg. I can’t see any situation where I’d be responsible, because I could always say it was self-defense. Second, the lives of ordinary civilians matter less than the needs of the army. Meaning, either they’re not important, or they’re less important compared to the military objective, or to the force, if I tell you that soldiers come and move people out of their living room so that they can watch TV, which is totally against the rules.
Did anything happen to the soldiers afterward?
No. It’s also . . . I think it’s something pretty common, even with us. Even though where I was, at least, they made sure not to sit on the whatever . . . it was in the briefings, not to sit on the sofas and not to go into their . . . meaning, do just what you have to do, like, in the houses, and nothing beyond that, not drinking coffee, but there were things like that. People come, drink coffee, like the family offers it, so they drink coffee with them.
What do you mean?
They come, they go into the house, you know, the families are used to it, they no longer get worked up by something like that, so they even get to the point where they offer it. Once I saw something like that. They come, offer coffee. There are guys who drink it. It always seemed strange to me to come into someone’s house, you come and drink coffee like you’re a guest. Even if he offers it, it’s still a bit funny.