Testimony - 'Desparate shaking'
|Location:||Hebron, West Bank|
A former Israeli soldier provides a testimony to Breaking the Silence in which he describes how his unit took it in turns to shake a boy they had detained in order to make him stop crying.
Soldier: “Once there was a stone-throwing incident at Gross Square, so we were alerted and the kid appeared and we were called from HQ, and the lookout instructed us: 'Listen, stop where you are, he’s right next to you.’”
Interviewer: “How old was he?”
Soldier: “15 years old. His name was Daoud. We stopped our vehicle, ran out, he was in total shock. We took him to Gross Post, to the Jewish side, and he began to cry, scream, he was just streaming sweat and tears. We had nothing to do with him, suddenly you end up with a crying kid. A second ago he was throwing roof tiles at the army post, and you’re dying to beat him to a pulp, and you’re alerted out there in that heat. You want to kill him but he’s crying. We didn’t know what to do, so we put him under watch. Once someone who was with him went wild, did something to him and left. At some point when I was with him I tried to calm him down because he was tied, blindfolded, and crying, tears and sweat streaming out all over. I began to shake him, then the deputy company commander tried. He grabbed him and began to shake him: 'Shut up, shut up, enough, cut it out!’ Then we took him to the police station at GivatHa’avot and he continued to cry because the policemen didn’t take him in for interrogation. He was so annoying, this was insane. In all that mess, while he was crawling on the floor, the communications man took out his Motorola, his two-way radio and boom! – banged him on the head. Not meaning to be cruel, just hearing that unbearable crying for over two hours.”
Interviewer: “This happened at the police station?”
Interviewer: “Somewhere on the side?”
Soldier: “No. In the lot with all those police vans … Outside the interrogation room. At some point when I was with him, the communications man photographed me. I didn’t want to be in a picture with him, this was a bad situation – you simply don’t know what to do with your life. We were terribly confused. There was anger, too, because you see the stones he’d thrown, you know it could be dangerous. Again, you’re constantly experiencing bad moments but the people who do them are such, I don’t know … The screwed up part is that he was at GivatHa’avot for a very long time. Whenever someone does something bad, one of the Arabs, you take him to GivatHa’avot and he disappears from there. He’s either taken to some camp or another for 3-4 days, or I don’t know. We’d just bring them to the police station and forget about them. After a while they come back. They don’t really go anywhere.”
Interviewer: “You said earlier that the deputy company commander shook him, when you were at Gross Square.”
Soldier: “We all did. He drove the commander out of his mind. They were such worms at some point, I remember we hated them, I hated them (Palestinians). I was such a racist there, too, I was so angry at them for their filth, their misery, the whole fucking situation. You threw a stone, why did you do that? Why did you have to make me bring you here? Don’t do it. We were shaking him out of despair, not necessarily because we were violent. I think we even broke out laughing. Now, too, when I think about it, you’re so lost there in that situation. We were shaking him, like saying: 'Enough already! You’re driving us mad!’ and kept yelling at him: 'Stop it! Stop it!’ throwing in some words in Arabic. Any words we knew. All kinds of nonsense like 'fine’ and 'what’s your name’.”