Koutsoukis in SMH today

I still often take exception to things Koutsoukis writes. However, I should give credit where credit is due, and admit where I’m wrong. A couple of weeks ago, YNet ran a long article about female testimonies of how they treat Palestinians in the occupied territories. I wrote about it, saying

Also in occupation news you won’t read in the odes to aid in Haiti, there’s female soldier testimonies about the occupied territories and the routine crimes they commit against the Palestinians. It’s a very important article. But it won’t be publicised anywhere. Certainly, I don’t expect to read about it in Australian media, which never reports on these things.

I think it’s true that Australian media never runs reports by Israeli human rights groups, and does not usually publicise the testimony of Israeli soldiers. In this case, Koutsoukis has.

The damaging effects of the occupation, not just on Palestinians but on the soldiers themselves, are laid bare in a booklet published last week by the group Breaking the Silence, an organization of Israeli army veterans who have taken it upon themselves to expose life in the occupied territories to the Israeli public. Titled Women Soldiers’ Testimonies, the booklet details the experiences of more than 40 female soldiers who have served in various roles in the territories since 2000.

Other accounts detail how Israeli soldiers routinely beat Palestinians “to a pulp” for fun, or cocked loaded rifles in the faces of detainees kneeling handcuffed before them, or how Israeli army doctors would “carry out all sorts of experiments on seriously wounded people”.

“Sometimes the doctors would come back from their event and say, ‘yes, he was already finished, but we did practise some intubation’, or this or that,” said a lieutenant from the Hebron Regional Brigade/Medical Corps. “Practise. It’s not that we tried to save the guy, he died on us. Practise.”

There are many more shocking accounts in the booklet. All convey the daily humiliation being inflicted on Palestinians by the occupation.

Koutsoukis should be commended for this report.

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