Soldados Israelenses Testemunham sobre os Territórios Palestinos Ocupados

Como soldados israelenses recentemente desmobilizados do serviço militar obrigatório nos territórios palestinos ocupados durante a Segunda Intifada, em março de 2004 fundámos a ONG Breaking the Silence.

Terminada a mobilização, apercebemo-nos de que a sociedade que nos tinha enviado para os territórios para proteger o nosso país desconhecia completamente o preço moral, social e humano que todos nós pagamos pela actividade militar israelense. O serviço nos territórios abalou profundamente o mundo moral em que fomos criados.

Todos na Breaking the Silence servimos nos territórios palestinos: alguns em Gaza, outros em Hebron, outros em Belém, e outros em inúmeras outras cidades e aldeias palestinas. Vimos a realidade tal como ela é. Vimos civis inocentes serem feridos, crianças incapazes de ir à escola por causa do recolher obrigatório, e pais não conseguirem sustentar a família por não lhes ser permitido ir trabalhar.

Não devemos esquecer tudo o que fizemos e tudo o que testemunhámos. Decidimos ser tempo de quebrar o silêncio e de testemunharmos.

Todos nós que servimos nos territórios temos testemunhado e participado em acções militares que nos mudaram imensamente. Os casos de abuso contra os palestinos, pilhagem e destruição de bens têm sido a norma durante anos, mas estes incidentes ainda são descritos oficialmente como casos "extremos" e "singulares". Os nossos testemunhos dão uma imagem diferente - e muito mais triste - em que a deterioração dos padrões morais se tornou parte das ordens militares e dos princípios de ação do exército israelense.

Enquanto os soldados e comandantes israelenses testemunham esta realidade, a maioria dos israelenses continua a fazer vista grossa e a negar o que está a ser feito em nosso nome. Enquanto os soldados dispensados regressavam à vida civil, descobrimos um fosso entre a realidade que encontrámos nos territórios e o silêncio sobre esta realidade que encontrámos em casa. A fim de retomar a vida civil, foi-nos pedido que ignorássemos o que tínhamos visto e feito. Mas não estamos dispostos a ficar em silêncio. Esforçamo-nos por dar voz às nossas histórias e às histórias dos nossos companheiros soldados, pressionando a sociedade israelense a enfrentar a realidade que criou.

Recolhemos e publicamos testemunhos de soldados que, como nós, têm servido na Cisjordânia, Gaza, e Jerusalém Oriental desde setembro de 2000. Para desenvolver a consciência pública, realizamos palestras, reuniões em casa, e outros eventos públicos que trazem à luz a realidade nos territórios através das vozes de antigos soldados de combate. Também promovemos visitas guiadas a Hebron e à zona das Colinas Sul de Hebron, na Cisjordânia, com o objetivo de propiciar ao público israelense acesso à realidade de um terreno tão próximo das suas casas, mas que raramente é retratada nos meios de comunicação social.

Uma sociedade que aspira a comportar-se eticamente não pode ignorar a realidade que cria e tolera. No caso de Israel, essa realidade está mesmo aqui ao lado. Temos de ter um debate honesto sobre as questões morais e sociais decorrentes da realidade nos territórios ocupados. Temos de ter a coragem para enfrentar o reflexo ao espelho que é propiciado pelos soldados que enviámos para fazer o trabalho sujo.

Israeli Soldiers Talk about the Occupied Territories

As recently discharged Israeli soldiers, we founded Breaking the Silence in March 2004, following our service in the occupied Palestinian territories during the Second Intifada.

After finishing our service, we realised that the society that had sent us to the territories to protect our country was completely unaware of the moral, social, and human price that we all pay for Israeli military activity. Our service in the territories has profoundly harmed the moral world within which we were raised.

All of us in Breaking the Silence have served in the Palestinian territories: some in Gaza, some in Hebron, some in Bethlehem, and some in countless other Palestinian towns and villages. We have seen the reality as it is. We have seen innocent civilians being harmed, children unable to go to school because of curfew, and parents who cannot put food on the table because they are not allowed to go to work.

We must not forget all that we have done and all that we have witnessed. We decided to break the silence because it is time to speak out.

All of us who served in the territories have witnessed and participated in military actions that have changed us immensely. Cases of abuse toward Palestinians, looting, and destruction of property have been the norm for years, but these incidents are still described officially as “extreme” and “unique” cases. Our testimonies portray a different – and much grimmer – picture, in which the deterioration of moral standards has found its way into the military orders and rules of engagement of the Israeli army.

While Israeli soldiers and commanders witness this reality, most Israelis continue to turn a blind eye and deny what is being done in our names. As discharged soldiers returning to civilian life, we discovered a gap between the reality we encountered in the territories and the silence about this reality we found at home. In order to resume civilian life, we were asked to ignore what we had seen and done. But we are unwilling to be silent. We strive to give voice to our stories and the stories of our fellow soldiers, pushing Israeli society to face the reality it has created.

We collect and publish testimonies from soldiers who, like us, have served in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem since September 2000. To boost public awareness, we hold lectures, house meetings, and other public events that bring to light the reality in the territories through the voices of former combat soldiers. We also conduct tours in Hebron and the South Hebron Hills in the West Bank, with the aim of giving the Israeli public access to the reality that exists on the ground that is so close to their homes yet is rarely portrayed in the media.

A society that aspires to behave ethically cannot ignore the reality it creates and tolerates. In Israel’s case, that reality is right in our backyard. We must hold an honest debate about the moral and social questions arising from the reality in the territories. We must gather the courage to face our reflection in the mirror held up to us by the soldiers we have sent to do our dirty work.

www.breakingthesilence.org.il

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They used to send us to do guard duty near the battalion headquarters, in Harsina. It was a Friday night, and the auxiliary company had a confrontation with a terrorist cell. The auxiliary company was also stationed in Harsina. They eliminated two terrorists, killed two terrorists. Friday night dinner was, of course, a very happy affair. Two terrorists eliminated. It was on the news, well-publicized in the media. There was rejoicing throughout the base. As I was leaving dinner, an armored ambulance arrived with the terrorists’ corpses, and the sight that I now saw after that delicious meal was that of two corpses of terrorists with three men standing next to them, holding them as if they were standing by themselves, and just taking pictures with them. This picture shocked even me. I closed my eyes just so I wouldn’t have to see and walked away. I didn’t really feel like seeing the bodies of dead terrorists. I think your judgement gets a little impaired when everyday… when your daily enemy is an Arab, or somebody else, who in your eyes… like you don’t look at him as a person standing in front of you, but as an enemy, and that’s the word for him: enemy. He is not a dog, he is not some animal, you don’t think of him as inferior, he simply doesn’t count. Period. He is not… he is your enemy, and if he’s the enemy, you kill him. And if it’s him that you kill, once you’ve killed him, it seems that there’s nothing worse that you can do to him. But apparently there is.

These photos were taken by IDF soldiers during their service in the Gaza Strip. In these photos, soldiers document themselves with the corpses of Palestinian militants, after they had been shot dead by the IDF. These photos are just one example of the customs and norms that have developed within various IDF units, of collecting "victory souvenirs" of one's military service.

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Breaking
the Silence

Soldados Israelenses Testemunham sobre os Territórios Palestinos Ocupados

LOCAL

Mercado de Culturas do Forno do Tijolo, Lisboa

DATAS

22 - 28 maio

MARCAÇÃO DE VISITAS
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