Two Israeli officers have confessed that soldiers bound, blindfold and beat Palestinian civilians as young as 14 during home raids in the occupied West Bank, the Independent reported on Tuesday, June 9.
"…because it’s boring, because you stand there 10 hours, you’re not doing anything, so they beat people up," an Israeli sergeant of the Kfir Brigade said in testimonies about abuses against Palestinians during a recent raid on the Hares village.
He asserted that over 150 Palestinians, including teens as young as 14, were bound, blindfolded and detained at the village school for 12 hours.
The sergeant admitted that though the detainees had done nothing wrong, soldiers were harshly beating and abusing them.
"There are people who think you need to tighten the restraints all the way, until no drop of blood will pass from here to there," he said.
"It doesn’t take much time until the hands turn blue. There were a lot of people that you know weren’t feeling anything."
The worst was when detainees asked to use the bathroom.
"The soldiers who took [them] to the toilet just exploded [over] them with beatings; cursed them with no reason," said the sergeant.
"When they took one Arab to the toilet so that he could urinate, one of them gave him a slap that brought him to the ground," he added.
"He had been handcuffed from behind with a nylon restraint and blindfolded. He wasn’t insolent, he didn’t do anything to get on anyone’s nerves…[it was] just because he’s an Arab. He was something like 15 years old."
Ihab Shamlawi, a university student from Hares, witnessed a similar incident, when a high school pupil asked Israeli soldiers for permission to go to the bathroom.
"They put him on the floor, they kicked his legs and beat him."
Shamlawi added that all other soldiers were watching and laughing and non moved to protect the pupil.
"They all laughed."
The Israeli sergeant said abusing Palestinian detainees is a common practice during Israeli army operations.
"There were a lot of reservists that participated, and they totally had a celebration on the Palestinians: curses, humiliation, pulling hair and ears, kicks, slaps," he said.
"These things were the norm."
A second sergeant said some soldiers stole from raided Palestinian houses, even though the people were so poor it was hard for them to find anything to take.
Last month, Colonel Virob, commander of the Kfir Brigade, said violence against detained Palestinians was justified in order to accomplish missions.
The Israeli refuseniks organization, Breaking the Silence, said the new confessions and Virob remark show that the abuses in Hares cannot be dismissed as an isolated incident or low-level improvisations.