by: David Harris-Gershon on May 18th, 2015 | 5 Comments »
A major in Israel’s infantry, who fought in the Northern Gaza Strip during Israel’s assault in the summer of 2014, talks of devastation. He talks of endless barrages, buildings collapsing, city streets being razed by bulldozers, entire neighborhoods erased.
Then he says, You want to hear a joke? You’re reading his words in a report, so you have no choice but to nod as he explains, This is a joke that was popular in the army during the war:
Why do Palestinians only sing the chorus? Because they have no verses left.
The punchline only makes sense if you know that in Hebrew, the word for houses (בתים) is the same word for verses.
The solider tells you this anonymously because he must. You don’t know his name – only that he is “01″ – nor do you know the names of the over 100 Israeli soldiers who recently gave testimony to Breaking the Silence, an organization which normally works with soldiers who wish to reveal the ugly truths of Israel’s occupation.
Now, in a report released this month entitled, “This is How We Fought in Gaza,” Israeli soldiers, their identities hidden, have given the world a window into what life fighting in Gaza often looked like.
The overriding theme is destruction. Pure, unrelenting destruction motivated by fear, by the justifiable desire to minimize military casualties at almost any cost.