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Text testimonies There was an instance in which one of the settlers gave an axe to a soldier who shot a Palestinian in the knee
catalog number: 281440
Rank: Lieutenant
Unit: Nahal, 932nd Battalion
Area: Hebron
period: 2014
categories:
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There was an instance in which one of the settlers gave an axe to a soldier who shot a Palestinian in the knee
Rank: Lieutenant
Unit: Nahal, 932nd Battalion
Area: Hebron
period: 2014

The relationship between settlers and soldiers is really confusing. As a commander I deliberated whether or not to let them eat at Baruch Marzel's (an extreme right-wing activist living in Hebron). And then you say to yourself, like, what, am I going to put the burden of the situation on my soldiers who are hungry on Saturday because, I don’t know, the cook is lazy? So I’ll let them eat there and then he’ll raise a toast and say he is really proud of everyone. He would tell us stories about how he had this automatic weapon during the Intifada and they [the Palestinians] would shoot at him, so he would stand at the window [of his house], shoot into the city and take down their solar water boilers.* And then we said, wow, he's crazy, this is unbelievable. Everyone would laugh and it was nice. There was also an instance in which one of the settlers gave an axe to a soldier who shot a Palestinian in the knee.

An axe? An axe. But the Battalion Commander also says that anyone who kills a terrorist, or takes down a knee (a phrase describing shooting towards the legs of a person with an intention to wound and not to kill, in accordance to the IDF's rules of engagement) gets weekend leave starting Thursday. A soldier of mine who shot someone in the knee before I arrived, he got like an award plaque and got weekend leave starting Thursday. They train you to be a soldier after all, and a soldier is supposed to want to fight, and then you get to a place like Hebron, and that's not war, so all your enthusiasm to fight boils down to you ultimately shooting someone in the knee. Like, they make you seek it out.

With Baruch Marzel, did the soldiers go to his house to eat? Yes, into his home.

Did it happen at other families over there as well? I ate with other families, but there were lots of interactions and things like this. They would approach every soldier, bring cakes and cookies and are supposedly really concerned, of course until you do something they don’t like and then they call you a Nazi and throw stones at you.

Your commanders, what was their attitude towards this? They turn a blind eye. They knew, they saw. "Fine," I mean, take the cookies, take whatever you want. The Chabad guys would come into our post. When a platoon got out [to go home], the Hebron Chabad guys would throw them a barbeque, which sounds really nice and fun, and it really did raise morale among the soldiers. The problem is that it confuses the soldiers completely about what their mission there is supposed to be, which is to maintain order, and it totally makes them biased. I mean, now they can no longer enforce some kind of order on the settlers if they get gifts from them all the time. You can really call it benefits. Before arrest operations, all kinds of guys would find us in bizarre places, and bring us pizzas and say to us: “Thank you, go get them.” They really rile you up to execute violence and “get them hard” and that kind of talk. There was this time when they invited all the commanders from [the military post in] Tel Rumeida to a house somewhere in Beit Hadassah, they brought us pizzas and cakes and stuff like that, and then had a talk with us, a kind of review of the incidents that happened in the city, with emphasis on the things that are important to the Civilian Emergency Response Team commander [of the Jewish settlement in Hebron]. All in all it makes sense that the army would work together with the Civilian Emergency Response Team, but then **** (a well-known settler in Hebron) went like: “by the way, if you see our children fooling around as kids do” – which basically means on Saturday they walk on the road because they have nothing else to do, and look to get into fights – “then be understanding with them, they’re under a lot of stress, they live here and they’re scared all the time, and sometimes it comes out in problematic ways.” Which is basically whitewashing the fact that they’re violent. "So don’t notify the police, just bring them to me and I’ll handle them.” Which is totally, totally, totally the polar opposite of how they encourage us to treat Palestinian youth. * In a story aired on Israeli channel 2, Marzel denied having made such remarks.