Tuesday, January 1, 2008

"I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport"

"No End in Sight:
"Jon Elmer Interviews Gideon Levy

by Gideon Levy
and Jon Elmer

September 18, 2003

On ZNet at:

: Latest figures indicate that more than 10,000 children have been injured in the intifada (Palestine Monitor). Veteran war correspondent Chris Hedges wrote in his "
Gaza Diaries" of Israeli soldiers taunting children in Khan Yunis, then shooting them: "Children have been shot in other conflicts I have covered - death squads gunned them down in el Salvador and Guatemala, mothers with infants were lined up and massacred in Algeria, and Serb snipers put children in their sights and watched them crumble on the pavement in Sarajevo - but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport" (Gaza Diaries, Harpers, October 2001). Can you comment on this with your experience as a reporter in this conflict?

Levy: Unfortunately it's not far from the truth. Most Israeli soldiers don't treat the Palestinians as human beings. For them, they are the enemy - all of them. They treat them like animals. When you treat them like animals, the difference between a child and an adult... there is no difference. There is no difference between a young cow and an old cow, you treat them the same. Once you've lost your human touch, your attitude to treat them as human beings, then the difference between children and adults has vanished.

And here we stand. I see these things every week, again and again. And it's inevitable. As long as the occupation goes on, these things are inevitable.

Elmer: Israeli forces have beaten, arrested, imprisoned, shot dozens and killed five journalists since the beginning of the intifada, all of whom were clearly identifiable as journalists - James Miller was seen on AP footage carrying a white flag and yelling that he was a British journalist when he was shot point-blank by Israeli forces in Gaza. When Rafaelle Ciriello was killed during Operation Defensive Shield, the International Press Institute said that it was "part of a concerted strategy by the Israeli army to control reports on the recent surge in armed hostilities in the region". Are Israelis murdering journalists?

Levy: No, I think the Israeli soldiers are just trigger-happy. They don't direct it especially [toward] journalists. They kill anything that walks – it can be journalists, it can be international solidarity activists, and it can be any Palestinian.

Elmer: You wrote recently, "Is their anyone who can make us stop the mad gallop down the path of blood?" In closing, can you answer that question?

Levy: I don't see him around.

Right now I don't see anyone who can lead drastic change in the public opinion.

Elmer: And things will continue to get worse? There is no end in sight?

Levy: Exactly.

Gideon Levy
is a journalist for the Israeli daily Ha’aretz.

Jon Elmer is currently reporting from Israel-Palestine, and is the editor of FromOccupiedPalestine.org