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Breaking the Silence : A Soldier’s Story – “We put some kid to sleep”

 

November 11, 2012 – An Israeli soldier provides a testimony to Breaking the Silence about shooting protesting Palestinian children in the legs in the occupied West Bank. Soldier: – “When there’s a ‘disturbance of the peace’ the unit commander is authorized to ask the battalion commander for permission to shoot the leader in the leg. What is a leader? These are kids. Everyone participating is a kid. No older than 16. At most 18…

Breaking the Silence : A Soldier’s Story – “We put some kid to sleep”
Defence for Children International-Palestine Section

November 11, 2012

Unit: Paratroopers Brigade
Rank: First Sergeant
Location: Nablus, West Bank
Date: 2006-2007

An Israeli soldier provides a testimony to Breaking the Silence about shooting protesting Palestinian children in the legs in the occupied West Bank.

Soldier: – “When there’s a ‘disturbance of the peace’ the unit commander is authorized to ask the battalion commander for permission to shoot the leader in the leg. What is a leader? These are kids. Everyone participating is a kid. No older than 16. At most 18. Usually when we come in, they don’t go to school. We’re the attraction and they come out to ‘play’. I even remember once we put on music for them through some cellular phone. We also got used to this. We were relatively sane, took things fairly in proportion. We’d get … cement blocks and crazy things thrown at our vehicle and you … at first you use some rubber ammo and then realize, it’s silly. Once … there’s this PA system we have, so we put on music from a cell phone and everyone started dancing.”

Interviewer: – “The kids?”

Soldier: – “Yes, it was huge. We put on music and suddenly they all stopped throwing stones and began to dance. It was eastern music so they were dancing with their hands. Then the song ended and they went on throwing stones. It was really serious. You realize who you’re dealing with here. These are kids. Chances are I’d do exactly as they do if I were in their shoes. There was a case of a unit commander who decided to shoot a guy in the leg because he runs the show, and it happened.”

Interviewer: – “Live ammunition?”

Soldier: – “Yes, Live, not rubber. You know, from the point of view of the commander, they would have stopped throwing anyway.”

Interviewer: – “When you begin getting hit with stones, you get out of the jeep?”

Soldier: – “No.”

Interviewer: – “You shoot the rubber ammo from inside the jeep?”

Soldier: – “You shoot through the loophole.”

Interviewer: – “Where do you aim? Do you choose some kid at random?”

Soldier: – “Yes. Choose someone, aim at his body.”

Interviewer: – “Body?”

Soldier: – “Center of mass.”

Interviewer: – “10 meters range at the centre of mass?”

Soldier: – “I remember one time we put a kid down. We didn’t kill him but someone hit the kid in the chest and he fell and probably lost consciousness, or at least, it was pretty close. About 10 meters.”

Interviewer: – “Were you instructed as to how to use rubber ammo?”

Soldier: – “No. It’s like … There are rules. They tell you to shoot four. There’s this cluster of rubber bullets, pieces with four parts, packed in a kind of nylon. You can break it in two, so it’s stronger and flies further. As soon as it’s four it’s less strong and flies less far. We’d usually break it in half.”

Interviewer: – “Is this something you were told to do? That if you want to achieve a longer range you break it in half?”

Soldier: – “No, we figured it out ourselves. It’s something that’s common knowledge in the army. People know about this. It’s not … When you use a weapon, you get to know it pretty well, I guess.”

Interviewer: – “Just so you know, as soon as this pack is broken in half, it becomes lethal.”

Soldier: – “Really? Well, that’s what we did.”

Interviewer: – “We did, too. As soon as the ‘tampons’ are separated, they’re lethal. The nylon must not be removed.”

Soldier: – “Not removed?!”

Interviewer: – “No.”

Soldier: – “We barely fired a whole cluster, I mean four. It’s like you want to save ammo, too.”

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