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Text testimonies Settlers – oh my God. Oh my God
catalog number: 517566
Rank: Lieutenant
Unit: Givati Brigade
period: 2004
categories:
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Settlers – oh my God. Oh my God
Rank: Lieutenant
Unit: Givati Brigade
period: 2004

Did you have any run-ins with settlers? I know there were incidents in our battalion, but I personally hardly experienced any confrontations. I did once, in the Kiryat Arba settlement, during a short time when I’d just been posted to the battalion and I was in charge of Kiryat Arba for some three weeks with my platoon.

At [Givat] Harsina? No, in the town itself. The guys were on a kind of guarding mission. That whole area there of the Worshippers’ Route, that’s a real Wild West.

What happened there? Settlers – oh my God. Oh my God. These guys come along suddenly, you don’t know what’s happening, you stand there amazed, wondering what people are thinking to themselves. It’s midnight and suddenly you see a 13-year-old boy coming out of Hebron, walking along nonchalantly, on his own. You see? It’s your job to protect him. You see a group of 12-year-old girls throwing stones at an elderly Palestinian man – I’m telling you, an old man walking with a cane, and they’re stoning him.

You see all of this from your pillbox post? Either from the post or while patrolling in a jeep, or sometimes on foot. I intervened.

What happened with the girls who were throwing stones? I saw a few girls throwing stones at an old Palestinian man. I got out and yelled at them, told them I’d take them to the police station if I ever saw them there again.

How did they react? They started crying, said they’d tell on me to their dad. I told them they were welcome to do that and sent them on their way.

What did the Palestinian say? Nothing. He went on. No, they didn’t manage to hit him.

This was on the Worshippers’ Route? Yes. Do you know it? It’s 100 meters by 100 meters of Wild West. From the entrance into Hebron all the way to the pillbox post, there’s this area, some of the houses are empty because the settlers of Kiryat Arba decided to empty them of their inhabitants. Jews went into the houses, turned them into synagogues.

You saw this? No, it was already, it was a given situation when I arrived. Again, I was there for only three weeks.

Are there synagogues on the Worshippers’ Route? No, there are houses that were emptied of inhabitants, they spray-painted Magen David (Star of David) signs on them, and every now and then they go in to hold prayer services there, and then you come and force them out. I told you, it’s the Wild West.

Did you make settlers leave? Not in my time there. Mostly, I managed to prevent this kind of thing before it escalated. I saw the guys arrive, I went in immediately.

How did you know it was them? They have no reason to hang out there. I don’t remember if it was an order from the brigade commander or whether I decided on my own, or by instruction of the company commander. But as far as I was concerned, there was the route, they’re allowed to walk along the route and enter the town and come back, if they choose to do that unwise thing. Everything along the sides – they should stay away. So they came, went in, I told them to get going. You know, some of them were nicer, some less, I don’t remember any confrontations. Certainly not violence.

What about [settler] outposts, beneath the pillbox, like the Giborim outpost? In my time it was empty. I know that they had taken it over, and they took it out. I was lucky to be there during three weeks when they had decided not to go in and sit there.

But there were the remains of the outpost there. What’s an outpost? Tents and stone houses they put up, including the houses of the Palestinians who left because of all the mess there. That’s not an outpost, you don't see trailers there. It’s amazing, you hear about it on the news, read about it in the papers on the outside. You come to the spot and realize it’s such a small group of fanatics and the whole business is so tiny, and you can hear about it on CNN. Amazing, that’s what reaches world news.

They make a lot of noise. They know how to raise a storm, what can you do. You don’t hear about regular people living their lives.

Were you ever sworn at, or was there violence towards you? Maybe they cursed us, not the kind of swearing we’re used to. All kinds of biblical curses, foe of Israel or evildoer or God knows what. I can’t say that I or any of my soldiers or were too upset about that. They weren’t violent towards us.