One of the things, it’s something that really shook me . . . because they didn’t train us for going into the Territories, so they gave us a very quick overview. So they explained to us a bit about, I don’t know what they’re called, riot control agents.
Okay. I don’t know. You understand from this that I wasn’t such a great fighter. On paper I’m in combat, but I wasn’t brainwashed or anything. They just taught us things. In any case, they taught us about rubber bullets, and they showed us how it comes in what’s called a “tampon,” which is a kind of plastic bag that contains the bullets. So they said, “You need to separate them, meaning you tear open the package and put them in one by one so you cause damage.” And they actually explained it to us, in this really pornographic way, “Aim for the eyes so you take out an eye, or at the stomach so it goes into the stomach.”
Who explained this to you?
The company commander at headquarters.
To the whole company?
Yes, and he says these things, yeah, and laughs. He says “Split them up,” and shows how you split them up, how you put them in. He says, “They’re not effective in threes.” To me it was really terrible, because it’s clear they were made that way so they’re aimed at a crowd and not directly at someone, although that’s bad enough. They really explained how you turn it into like live ammunition. And he explained how they can’t prove it. If someone gets hurt it’s like by a rubber bullet. “No one will do anything, you’ve got nothing to worry about.”
And how did the soldiers react?
They laughed. No one was really shaken up, except for me.
Did you talk about it with anyone?
Actually, yes. The truth is that I wanted to go to the battalion commander, but before that I spoke with my friend, who was the company commander’s driver. He said, “There’s no point in talking to him.” The commander himself, my friend went out with him to the field—he said, he splits up the rubber bullets all the time, and he instructs everyone to do it. Okay, so in the end I turned to B’Tselem.
What did B’Tselem say?
They also took my testimony. They asked me a ton of questions, they asked me for names. I have no idea whether they dealt with it because it was close to my discharge. In the end, it’s not something that like, today, like no one knows what it is. There was that thing called the Tenet report or something, about Israel’s activities in the Territories, so my story went in. I got a letter about it.