Two days ago (Friday) a piece came out in Haaretz by Ido Glazer, featuring stories from five anonymous snipers who told how they gunned down unarmed protesters at the March of Return near the Gaza perimeter fence.
These accounts are a jaw-dropper, constituting some of the most enraging as well as depressing readings I can recall. The language of the perpetrators of these massacres is testimony to the moral depravity of these young soldiers, who still seem to believe they are fulfilling a sacred duty to defend their country, as well as a damning account of the state and society that supports them and their crimes.
These are not shamed confessions: the snipers appear to be boasting about their “hits”, in competition over the number of knees they can claim to have shot to pieces. And Israeli officials often say that their army is the “most moral army in the world.”
Let’s start with the knees.
Knees are a hard thing to rack up
“I kept the casing of every round I fired,” says one of them. “I have them in my room. So I don’t have to make an estimate – I know: 52 definite hits.”
Is 52 a lot?, Ido Glazer asks.
“I haven’t really thought about it. It’s not hundreds of liquidations like in the movie ‘American Sniper’: We’re talking about knees. I’m not making light of it, I shot a human being, but still …”
Where do you stand in comparison to others who served in your battalion?
“From the point of view of hits, I have the most. In my battalion they would say: ‘Look, here comes the killer.’ When I came back from the field, they would ask, ‘Well, how many today?’ You have to understand that before we showed up, knees were the hardest thing to rack up. There was a story about one sniper who had 11 knees all told, and people thought no one could outdo him. And then I brought in seven-eight knees in one day. Within a few hours, I almost broke his record.”
Not “shooting and crying”
Glazer notes that this is not what is known as “shooting and crying”,