"When I first got to Hebron I wouldn't open fire on little children. And I was sure that if I ever killed or hurt anyone, I'd go so crazy that I'd leave the army. But finally I did shoot someone, and nothing happened to me. In Hebron I shot the legs off of two kids, and I was sure I wouldn't be able to sleep anymore at night, but nothing happened. Two weeks ago I hurt a Palestinian policeman, and that didn't affect me either. You become so apathetic you don't care at all.
Shooting is the IDF soldier's way of meditating. It's like shooting is your way of letting go of all your anger when you're in the army. In Hebron there's this order they call "punitive shooting": just open fire on whatever you like. I opened fire not on any sources of fire but on windows where there was just wash hanging to dry. I knew that there were people who would be hit. But at that moment it was just shoot, shoot, shoot."
“They call it ‘easy’ when they shoot live bullets at the knees of a child. There is a long line that separates the Jewish settlements from Khan Younis [in the Gaza Strip] and in parts of it there is no fence. In front of Ganei-Tal was a dune, which was a dead zone regarding our ability to observe it. In order that they not penetrate into the settlements, we created a situation in which the Palestinians knew exactly how far they could go from the edge of the neighbourhood.
The top of the dune was a garbage dump next to which children played every day. When the ball falls, we execute deterrent fire to keep them back, first in the air and then maximum 50 metres from them so they go back. That was the procedure. For a long period it was like cat-and-mouse and it lasted a long time, until one day my assistant company commander decided that he had had enough, that it was not effective, that the children played there too much. He told us, ‘next time, call me.’ He came, and fired from a modified M-16 rifle with a telescopic sight, at the leg of one of the children. A boy who definitely had nothing on him, there wasn’t even a suspicion that he had anything, besides the fact that he had crossed some imaginary line. To shoot a nine- or ten-year-old boy who was playing football and innocently chasing the ball, and make him disabled for his whole life, in my eyes that is more than problematic. The children ran away as long as their breath was in them, and adults came to evacuate the boy who was lying there. They understood the aggressive message. For a few days at least, the children were afraid to cross the line.”
“[T]here was an operation that we jokingly called ‘the Brigade
Commander’s horror show.’ At the last stage there were roadblock
operations with plastic [barriers] that we called ‘New Jerseys.’ All
the time the children, the ones who throw stones, would come and move
them. It was a total mess. Then the battalion commander gave everyone
an order on the radio: whoever touches a ‘New Jersey,’ shoot him in the
legs. Live fire.
In my Abir [military vehicle], we said right away, ‘is he cracked or what?’ Somebody touches a barrier and you shoot him in the legs? For sure he’s just showing off. But no. That battalion commander was actually a good guy. It was very important to him to set a personal example. At the checkpoint, where I was not personally but there were friends of mine there, the man saw a boy and aimed at his legs, but you know how it is with the commanders, they have so many meetings they don’t have time to calibrate their weapons. He missed the leg and hit the boy in the chest. I was not there, but when we returned from the operation to the base everybody was talking about it. They all said that the battalion commander shot a boy and were talking like he was a ‘murderer of children.’ Was the boy killed? I assume nobody went and checked for a pulse, but very few children survive a bullet in the chest.”
-- Testimony of Israeli soldier “R”, an Israeli paratroops commander who participated in the IDF's Operation Calm Waters, which took place in Nablus from 16 December 2003 to 6 January 2004. Published in in the weekend supplement of Israel's most popular newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, 16 Sept 2005. Translated and published in English by Mark Marshall for Occupation Magazine.
Photo: T-shirt printed for members of an IDF
elite unit who had completed sniper training, reads "The smaller they
are - The harder it is!".
Source: Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques - IDF fashion 2009 (Ha'aretz); via Mondoweiss.