May the thugs among us get their due. I feel shame.

Steven Erlanger of the NYTimes reports:

In the Atatrah neighborhood, Muhammad Erheem, shaken, showed a reporter through his large house on a hill, which 25 Israeli soldiers commandeered on Thursday night before leaving Saturday morning. They locked the 13 members of the Erheem family in a single storeroom, letting them in small groups, under guard, only to use the toilet, Mr. Erheem said.
The troops moved into the compound behind an armored bulldozer that crushed two smaller buildings — a stable and a water pump house — and also killed a number of prize goats, who were buried alive in the sand as the bulldozer passed over.
“I could hear my goats screaming above the noise,” Mr. Erheem said. “Then they banged on the door and I opened it, and 10 soldiers came in, very agitated, and ordered me to strip, and one cocked his pistol at me and shouted, ‘Where is the weapon?’ I speak fluent Hebrew, thank God, and I said I had no weapon and there was no weapon in the house.”
The soldiers made holes in the walls to establish sniper positions, he said, and dismantled furniture, propping beds up against walls to help protect them from any incoming fire and “using my house like a hotel.”
But Mr. Erheem was shocked that the soldiers brought wine into his house, and that one of them stripped down to his underwear in the heat and walked around that way in front of the women. Mr. Erheem also pointed out a Koran that had been ripped apart and scattered.
His son, Bakr Erheem, 25, had been married five days before, and there was a big party, the house still full of wedding bouquets and unopened gifts. Their wedding bed was dismantled and broken, holes tore through the concrete walls. Outside, his two water-tanker trucks — he had a business selling filtered water — were smashed, their engines pushed into the driver’s cab.
Mr. Erheem said one soldier took a gold necklace, and he showed a purse he said had had gold jewelry in it. The soldiers had replaced the gold, he charged, with a gold-colored piece of metal that looked to be part of an antenna.
The Israeli Army said that troops had regulations about requisitioning houses and that it would investigate all allegations of wrongdoing.

Full Story.

21 thoughts on “May the thugs among us get their due. I feel shame.

  1. The occupation is thuggish by definition. There was a time when I used to apologize for it myself.

  2. This is an almost-verbatim rerun of similar claims made during the last 2 intifadas. The army responded by examining each situation – in all cases, the claims were found to be exaggerated and baseless.
    There were and are clear directives for this kind of action. In some cases, the army occupied homes in Nablus for weeks at a time, and furniture and rugs were carefully rolled up and moved out of the active areas of the house. Soldiers slept on army cots, not the familes’ beds. Et cetera.
    It’s unlikely the army would occupy a house, then puch holes in its walls. They would simply have selected a home with the proper views, or operated from the roof.
    Are there photos of the holes in the walls? Any other corroborating evidence?
    The Times is not exactly a reliably impartial source. Their reports from Gaza over the past week use the classic “it all started when Israel hit back” pattern – totally ignoring/glossing over the fact that this situation started when the Palis attacked Israel, and presenting the Israeli response as context-less aggression.

  3. “The army responded by examining each situation – in all cases, the claims were found to be exaggerated and baseless.”
    ok, i’m convinced.

  4. seriously… question as i do media reports based on palestinian testimony alone, never will i give the idf a pass to conduct its own investigations.

  5. “Are there photos of the holes in the walls? ”
    If i’m not mistaken — because at the moment the photo accomanying the article won’t show up in my browser — it does show holes in the walls.

  6. Today’s Times offers a typical example of the slanted, victimology-based reporting – in which a complex situation is crammed into the leftist template of Oppressor/Oppressed. The headline tells it all:
    Rockets Create a ‘Balance of Fear’ With Israel, Gaza Residents Say
    Uh-huh, like the Palis live in fear of random, unprovoked Israeli terror. Yeah, sure.
    Amazingly, this article NEVER ONCE mentions that the current Israeli action is a RESPONSE to a pre-meditated Pali act of war – an attack within sovereign Israel. Instead we get:
    Palestinians also see the rockets as retaliation for Israeli airstrikes, or an act of solidarity with West Bank Palestinians when fighting heats up on that front.
    Israel, meanwhile, describes the rocket attacks as terrorism and argues that any rationale for firing the rockets evaporated when the government withdrew its soldiers and settlers from Gaza last summer.
    “We left Gaza,” Brig. Gen. Ido Nehushtan said. “There can be no possible justification for launching these rockets, and we cannot tolerate a situation where they are being fired at our citizens every day.”
    Since Israel made a push into northern Gaza on Thursday, at least 40 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier have been killed. The Palestinians have fired more than 25 rockets. Only one resulted in injuries, lightly wounding three people in Sderot on Friday. Several misfired so badly that they came down in Gaza, and one splashed in the Mediterranean, the Israeli military said.

    Get that? Those mean Israelis just rolled into Gaza – just like that! All the poor Palis were doin’ was showin’ some solidarity with their West Bank homies… yeah, that’s right, “solidarity” – what a noble, uplifting word.
    Since the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, the Palestinians have fired about 700 rockets at southern Israel, causing injuries and damage, but no deaths.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – —
    … not quite accurate: the missiles have not directly killed anyone, but Israelis have been killed by Pali terror during that time – no mention whatsoever of the dozens of foiled attempts to smuggle suicide bombers into Israel – one most dramatically stopped on a major highway just this past Thursday, in a widely reported incident.
    We are almost halfway through the column, and there’s STILL no mention of the attack that started this latest Israeli action. Only at the end of the article is there even a glancing reference to the actual cause of Israel’s incursion:
    Last month, the Israeli security forces killed 42 Palestinians, including 24 who were not involved in the fighting, according to B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group. Most of the deaths were in Gaza. Three Israelis were killed in June, two of them soldiers and one a civilian.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – the 2 soldiers were killed during an attack by Palis on Israeli soi, and the civilian was kidnapped and killed by West Bank homies showing more of that Noble Savage “solidarity”.
    Give me a F-ing break before you quote the NYT as “proof” of Israeli thuggery….

  7. Ben-David: is it truly so shocking the Palestinians would attack an army base outside Gaza, against forces that had been shelling civilian areas in Gaza for weeks, killing innocent civilians?
    Check out this Gideon Levy article, “Who started it?”
    […]They are also “breaking the rules” laid down by Israel: We are allowed to bomb anything we want and they are not allowed to launch Qassams. When they fire a Qassam at Ashkelon, that’s an “escalation of the conflict,” and when we bomb a university and a school, it’s perfectly alright. Why? Because they started. That’s why the majority thinks that all the justice is on our side. Like in a schoolyard fight, the argument about who started is Israel’s winning moral argument to justify every injustice.
    So, who really did start? And have we “left Gaza?”
    Israel left Gaza only partially, and in a distorted manner. The disengagement plan, which was labeled with fancy titles like “partition” and “an end to the occupation,” did result in the dismantling of settlements and the Israel Defense Forces’ departure from Gaza, but it did almost nothing to change the living conditions for the residents of the Strip. Gaza is still a prison and its inhabitants are still doomed to live in poverty and oppression. Israel closes them off from the sea, the air and land, except for a limited safety valve at the Rafah crossing. They cannot visit their relatives in the West Bank or look for work in Israel, upon which the Gazan economy has been dependent for some 40 years. Sometimes goods can be transported, sometimes not. Gaza has no chance of escaping its poverty under these conditions. Nobody will invest in it, nobody can develop it, nobody can feel free in it. Israel left the cage, threw away the keys and left the residents to their bitter fate. Now, less than a year after the disengagement, it is going back, with violence and force.
    What could otherwise have been expected? That Israel would unilaterally withdraw, brutally and outrageously ignoring the Palestinians and their needs, and that they would silently bear their bitter fate and would not continue to fight for their liberty, livelihood and dignity? We promised a safe passage to the West Bank and didn’t keep the promise. We promised to free prisoners and didn’t keep the promise. We supported democratic elections and then boycotted the legally elected leadership, confiscating funds that belong to it, and declaring war on it. We could have withdrawn from Gaza through negotiations and coordination, while strengthening the existing Palestinian leadership, but we refused to do so. And now, we complain about “a lack of leadership?” We did everything we could to undermine their society and leadership, making sure as much as possible that the disengagement would not be a new chapter in our relationship with the neighboring nation, and now we are amazed by the violence and hatred that we sowed with our own hands.
    What would have happened if the Palestinians had not fired Qassams? Would Israel have lifted the economic siege that it imposed on Gaza? Would it open the border to Palestinian laborers? Free prisoners? Meet with the elected leadership and conduct negotiations? Encourage investment in Gaza? Nonsense. If the Gazans were sitting quietly, as Israel expects them to do, their case would disappear from the agenda – here and around the world. Israel would continue with the convergence, which is solely meant to serve its goals, ignoring their needs. Nobody would have given any thought to the fate of the people of Gaza if they did not behave violently. That is a very bitter truth, but the first 20 years of the occupation passed quietly and we did not lift a finger to end it.
    Instead, under cover of the quiet, we built the enormous, criminal settlement enterprise. With our own hands, we are now once again pushing the Palestinians into using the petty arms they have; and in response, we employ nearly the entire enormous arsenal at our disposal, and continue to complain that “they started.”
    We started. We started with the occupation, and we are duty-bound to end it, a real and complete ending. We started with the violence. There is no violence worse than the violence of the occupier, using force on an entire nation, so the question about who fired first is therefore an evasion meant to distort the picture. After Oslo, too, there were those who claimed that “we left the territories,” in a similar mixture of blindness and lies.
    Gaza is in serious trouble, ruled by death, horror and daily difficulties, far from the eyes and hearts of Israelis. We are only shown the Qassams. We only see the Qassams. The West Bank is still under the boot of occupation, the settlements are flourishing, and every limply extended hand for an agreement, including that of Ismail Haniyeh, is immediately rejected. And after all this, if someone still has second thoughts, the winning answer is promptly delivered: “They started.” They started and justice is on our side, while the fact is that they did not start and justice is not with us.

  8. Let me guess – next you’re going to quote Amira Hass as an impartial source. Levy’s many wishful distortions are easily refuted.
    Israel DID in fact, withdraw completely – after almost a decade in which the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza were under the PA’s jurisdiction for all day-to-day matters.
    It did NOT “lock” Palestinians into their territory – remember the Palis blowing holes in their fence with Egypt? I think that had something to do with the subsequent Egyptian policy of closing their border – just a leeeetle bit, eh?
    Nor did it impose “economic seige”. Guess what? Israel is not responsible for the Palestinian economy – it doesn’t have to let people into Israel to work. We don’t “owe” them anything – certainly not after they elected a government that openly embraced a policy of destroying Israel, and ACTED on that policy – using up much money and goodwill that would have helped its people economically.
    Here is the mouthpiece of the Israeli left re-rehearsing (in the face of contradictory reality) the old tropes of Palestinian victimhood. Sorry, folks – stamping one’s feet and willing it doesn’t make it so.
    Even the Times reports that OVER 700 missiles have been lobbed into sovereign Israel in as many months.
    The Palis, unprovoked, launched a war – and only self-hating fools are blaming the Israelis for the current return to Gaza.

  9. Forget “follow the money”, the true mantra is “examine the sources”. Palestinians lie almost constantly about their “treatment” by Israelis, remember the “massacre of Jenin” when hundreds of civilians were killed – oh, that’s right, it was only about 50 in total and most of those were terroritsts. And Hess? One of the most anti Israeli, anti Jewish Jews in the world – Haaretz is to Israel what Counterpunch is to America.
    And what’s this shit about being ashamed? Am I ashamed as an American because Charlie Manson was a serial murderer? No, I’m pround as an American that we had a judicial system that worked, rights were protected, and justice was done. Those who are “ashamed” when a Jew does something wrong (and I doubt that is the case here) are exhibiting that “slave mentality” of the oppressed – they have bought into the view that there is something wrong in their genes, they have joined the mentality of the muslim oppressor. Thank g-d the strength of Israel has allowed most of our brethren to throw off their pyschlogical bondage.

  10. I believe the point of view taken here is wrong.
    We know the media is never imparcial, and will always try to make one side look better or worse than the other, one is always totally guilty and the other appears to be a helpless victim.
    The true analisys of the news is done in our minds and through our own beliefs. I am convinced that people make mistakes, and errors can be assigned to individuals. Not everyone is a saint, and perhaps a soldier can make a mistake.
    But that should not move us aside from what the issue is here. A 19 year old kid (soldier or not) was kiddnapped illegitimately and has been held captive since in G-d knows what conditions.
    It is the duty and responsability of the IDF and the State of Israel to rescue him, no matter what. To bring him back to his family safely. Any soldier is considered in Israel as the whole IDF, if one soldier is kiddnaped, the whole IDF was kiddnaped and everyone will fight back. That is the whole purpose of the state of Israel: ” wherever there is a Jews in need…”
    And in the same manner the State of Israel is committed to us for our Jewishness, we should be committed to the State of Israel. It is our duty to sand for our brothers in Israel, and stand up against the misinterpretations of the media. If not publicly, at least in our hearts try to analyze and comprehend what is said and what lies behind what is said.
    Articles like the one above are written to divide. If we fall under these issues, what will happen when other issues arize? Will we be able to stand tall and proud as Jews for who we are and what we believe? Will we be able to defend other Jews in need? Will we recieve that help when we are the ones in need?

  11. Ben David, what you say is crap. The source of much of what Israeli journalists know about the thuggish behavior of troops comes from – the troops themselves. Visit http://www.shovrimshtika.org/testimony_en.asp
    which contains many testimonies, videos, and photos taken by IDF soldiers. Many of them kept them for years, ashamed and confused, and only after much thought spoke out about them. As one of them said at an event I attended, ‘how do you discuss what you have done in front of your mother?’
    I have seen videos of demolished homes and offices with graffiti in Hebrew, piles of feces, and computer equipment and photocopiers systematically destroyed.
    Any conversation about ‘who started it’ needs to begin with the fact that every Israeli knows a victim of something or other from generations ago. AND SO DO THE PALESTINIANS. The argument over who started it is childish and immature. The only real debate worth having is how to stop it. In politics and warfare, as in life, the onus is on the stronger party to use that strength to achieve reasonable goals.
    Israel’s goals are not confined to a desire to ‘protect’ Israeli civilians. Were that the case, there would not be any settlers in the West Bank – they’d be removed. Israel’s existence is a challenge to the idea that life is above all – cuz it isn’t. Pursuit of national goals is above all. If that includes maintaining a position of full spectrum, permanent dominance over the Palestinians, then in my eyes, it’s illegitimate and the Palestinians are justified in attacking Israel. Yes, justified in conducting warfare against Israel, up to and including the capture of an enemy soldier.
    The attacks against civilians are of course not justified. They are natural, inevitable consequences of Israeli policy however. It follows the logic of occupation and domination, as surely as the image of an Israeli soldier walking around in his underwear in front of a conservative, religious Palestinian Muslim woman is.
    The day I start to emphasize the need for Palestinian nonviolence is the day after Israel stops beating up nonviolent Palestinian protesters in Bilin and elsewhere. Till then Israel gets to reap what it sows…. it is sowing a whirlwind right now, virtually signing the death sentences of it’s own civilians with every additional day spent refusing to negotiate with the Hamas led government.
    (um… ditto fot the Pals of course, those violent bastards! Think outside the box, people!)

  12. Charles,
    First of all, You should get your facts checked and reconsider who is the one not willing to negociate with the other. Who has under their contitution chart the goal of complete anihilation of the other? Who’s proposal is a religious war by all correligionaries to wipe out of the map a contitued state?
    The fact is that Israel did retire from Gaza, and Israel had prepared a plan of unilateral (of course the optimum would have been a consented plan) retirement form the sttlements. This, in my opinion (and you might not agree) is a clear signal of willingness for peace on the Israeli side. This willingness for peace has been shared by some sectors of Palestinean society and government. Abu Mazen’s plesbicitary move was a clear signal too. His moderate faction, and their supporters have been qualified by many as a true partner for peace.
    Regretably, they are not the majority in the Palestinean society or government. The fact that there hasn’t been many terrorist attacks is greatly becasue of the efficiency of the fence built to divide both territories (no matter how sad this is for the future peace). The fact is that attepts to commit suicidal bombings are frustrated continuosly through the borders.
    This failiure with suicidal bombing (added the international preassure against these kind of attacks) has generated a change in strategy for those who do want to continue the struggle. There has been a shift in violence resources towards morter attacks and now, kiddnappings. Let me remind you that Gilad Shalit wasn’t the only kiddnapped person in these last few days. A young settler (human and civilian no matter how much you hate him) was kiddnaped and killed the same week.
    In the same way as Israel found a way to prevent the suicidal bombings, it is now the duty and responsibility of the Israeli State, created to protect not only every Israeli civilian, but every Jew in the world (that includes you and me), to find a way to stop the kiddnappings and morter attacks.
    On the issue of civilian and army distinction, I’d love if I could find the same division among palestinian forces. If there were a Palestinean army to fight against and end this filthy war, I believe the war would be finished in no time.
    But as palestineans decide to fight through millitia and mixed among civileans, it is hard to distinguish a millitary target when this is just under a civilian home. As long as Palestinians decide to build bombs and educate terrorists in their schools, homes and and hospitals, these will sadly and invevitably be military targets.
    There is an old saying I remember that says something like this: “Beware of your enemy, for you might find yourself tuned into him someday.” Israel must beware of this, and train their millitary not only on warfare but also on morality. Many soldiers do turn into their own enemies when they wreck Palestinean houses or dishonor the women by running arround half naked. And we should condemn that, but don’t turn this simple mistake in a case against Israel’s right to defend itself.

  13. One more little thing about the monetary issue and the palestineans. It is not Israel who cut out the funds for the palestineans. European leaders who financed the economic develpment of Gaza (mostly french capital) have found that they can’t keep investing, given the corruption and political opinion of current leaders.
    And a little fact about the dissingagement plan. One left polititian in Israel (Beilin) decided to buy some of the biggest investments in some of the settlements that were about to be returned to palestineans to protect it from being destroyed by the israelis who were leaving in order to be handed in perfect conditions to palestinean leadership….
    What finally happened? In the rush and excitement of palestineans returning to their lands, the whole building was burnt down.
    “… a private economic foundation bought most of the greenhouses in Gaza settlements for $14 million and will hand them over to the Palestinians, said Yossi Beilin, leader of the Israeli Yahad Party. By keeping the greenhouses intact, the Economic Cooperation Foundation can ensure employment for about 4,000 Palestinians, said Beilin, who heads the foundation.
    By Friday, many greenhouses had been abandoned. In Neve Dekalim, Gaza’s largest settlement, yellow peppers rotted on the vines. One greenhouse had been completely uprooted, the only thing left a plastic tarp covering the sandy surface.
    Farmers in the settlements grew herbs, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and flowers, mostly for export.”
    check the whole article at:

  14. they have some major facts wrong . mainly only elite of the elite units carry pistols, and i doubt it was them if it was such a large operation sounds like pallywood to me

  15. jjl, what you write about pistols is wrong. Many Israeli soldiers have the optional ‘right’ to carry pistols. This includes almost all officers, as well as residents of the West Bank.
    There is a regulation forcing many soldiers to carry a gun at all times. When an officer buys an optional pistol, it means they can leave thier rifle at home, or the base, or whatever, and have a light sidearm. Of course, many of these people then carry it around in a holster all the time.
    There are far more guys like this, than there are elite soldiers who are given a pistol as part of thier official issue weapons. In this you are right. So, having a pistol on hand does not detract a whit from these allegations.
    (I know this because I was in the IDF, and I don’t think much has changed since I was there in this regard.)

  16. Charles: “The argument over who started it is childish and immature. ”
    So you regard is Gideon Levy being childish and immature?
    “We started. We started with the occupation, and we are duty-bound to end it, a real and complete ending. We started with the violence. There is no violence worse than the violence of the occupier, using force on an entire nation, so the question about who fired first is therefore an evasion meant to distort the picture. After Oslo, too, there were those who claimed that “we left the territories,” in a similar mixture of blindness and lies. “

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