A Message From Hell
by Victor Ostrovsky
Occasionally an article appears that is so disturbing in nature that one wants to cry out to the world in anger and frustration, "stop!" The Tel Aviv daily Ha'aretz carried just such an article, by Aviv Lavi, on Dec. 23.
For the most part Ha'aretz translates its articles-or somewhat sanitized versions-into English and makes them available on its Web site at www.haaretz.co.il/english. But others, like the one described below, remain untranslated for reasons that will become obvious.
It is the story of Haim Peretz, a seemingly ordinary Israeli who grew up in the small town of Ofakim-not a place overflowing with left-wing activists. Nevertheless, in clearing him for obligatory military service, Israeli officials overlooked a character flaw. This ordinary young man from an ordinary town had, unnoticed by the authorities, developed a conscience. It apparently went unnoticed while Haim Peretz spent almost three years working on F-16 aircraft as an Israeli air force technician. However, with only two weeks left to complete his three years of obligatory service, this first sergeant with a clean record was sent for a two-week stint as a security guard at the holding facility at the Erez crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip...
** snipped by ewar - link to full article at the bottom of this post **
After Haim went public he was harassed and regarded by many of his friends as a traitor. The military said it would look into his revelations and an official investigation was promised. The commander of the facility was removed from office.
It must be remembered, however, that there are many more facilities like this one in Israel, and there are many prisoners who are simply unaccounted for. In additon, one should not forget the hostages Israel has kidnapped from Lebanon and who are held as pawns for future exchanges with the Hezbollah. Five such Lebanese hostages were released recently. One was 31 years old and had been in captivity-without trial and without committing a crime-since he was 16-15 years ago.
Haim's exposé made very few ripples in Israel. Is it possible that the well of Israeli compassion has totally run dry? The most worrisome element of this story is the uncalled for and unnecessary cruelty displayed by what one can only regard as "regular Israelis." It appears to vindicate the many predictions made by psychologists that the prolonged Israeli occupation of the territories might rob the Israelis of their souls. When and if peace is achieved, and hopefully that day is near, where will "the new Israeli" release all his stored up cruelty, hatred and violence? Already the rates of violence by Israelis against Israelis, starting with their own families, may be the final revenge of Israel's hundreds of thousands of innocent victims.
Read the full story...