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Text testimonies They came to a house and just demolished it
catalog number: 615752
Rank: Sergeant
Unit: Haruv Battalion
Area: Salfit area
period: 2009
categories:
179  views    1  comments
They came to a house and just demolished it
Rank: Sergeant
Unit: Haruv Battalion
Area: Salfit area
period: 2009

During your service in the Territories, what shook you up the most? The searches we did in Hares, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. They said there are sixty houses that have to be searched. I said that there had to have been some warning from intelligence. I tried to justify it to myself. Was this during the day or at night? At night. You went out as a patrol? No, the whole division. It was a battalion operation, they spread out over the whole village, took control of the school, smashed the locks, the classrooms. One room was used as the investigation room for the Shin Bet, one room for detainees, one room for the soldiers to rest. I remember it particularly annoyed me that they chose a school. We went house by house, knocking at two in the morning on the family’s door. They’re scared to death, girls peeing in their pants with fear. We bang on the doors, there’s a feeling of “We’ll show them,” it’s fanatical. We go into the house and turn everything upside down. What’s the procedure? Gather the family in one room, put a guard there, tell the guard to keep his gun on them, and then search the whole house. We received another order that everyone born after 1980 until . . . everyone between sixteen and twenty-nine, doesn’t matter who, bring him in cuffed and blindfolded. They yelled at old people, one of them had an epileptic seizure. They carried on yelling at him. He doesn’t speak Hebrew and they continue yelling at him. The medic treated him. We did the rounds. Every house we went into, they took everyone between sixteen and twenty-nine and brought them to the school. They sat tied up in the schoolyard. Did they tell you the purpose of all this? To locate weapons. But we didn’t find any weapons in the end. They confiscated kitchen knives. What shocked me the most was that there was also stealing. One person took twenty shekels. People went into the houses and looked for things to steal. This was a very poor village. At one point, guys were saying, “What a bummer, there’s nothing to steal.” “I took some markers just so I could say that I stole something.” That was said in a conversation among the soldiers? Among the soldiers, after the action. There was a lot of joy at people’s misery, guys were happy talking about it. There was a moment where someone they knew was mentally ill yelled at the soldiers, but one sol- dier decided that he was going to beat him up anyway, so they smashed him. They hit him in the head with the butt of a gun, he was bleeding, and they brought him to the school along with everyone else. There were a pile of arrest orders signed by the battalion commander, ready, with one area left blank. They’d fill in that the person was detained on suspicion of disturbing the peace. They just filled in the name and the reason for arrest. I remember there were people with plastic handcuffs that had been put on really tight, and I’d cut them off and put on looser ones. I got to speak with people there. There was one who worked thir- teen hours a day, and another one a settler had brought into Israel to work for him, after two months he didn’t pay him and handed him over to the police. All the people came from that one village? Yes. Anything else you remember from that evening? That bothered me? A small thing, but it bothered me. There was one house that they just demolished. There’s a dog that can find weapons but they didn’t bring him, they just destroyed the house. The mother watched from the side and cried, the kids sat with her and stroked her. I see how my mom puts so much effort into every corner of our house, and suddenly they come and destroy it. What do you mean, that they just destroyed a house? They smash the floors, turn over sofas, throw plants and pictures, turn over beds, smash the closets, the tiles. There were other, smaller things, but this really bothered me. The look on the people whose house you’ve gone into. It really hurt me to see this. And after all that, they left them for hours tied up and blindfolded in the school. The order came to free them at four in the afternoon. So that was more than twelve hours. There were investigators from the security services who sat there and interrogated them one by one. Had there been a terrorist attack earlier in the area? No. We didn’t even find any weapons. The brigade commander claimed that the Shin Bet did find some intelligence, and that there are a lot of guys there who throw stones, and that now we’d be able to catch them... Things from the operation in Hares are always surfacing in my mind. Like what? The way they looked at us, what was going through their minds, their children’s minds. How you can take a woman’s son in the middle of the night and put him in handcuffs and a blindfold.