Ex-israeli soldier at Algeriepatriotique : “The Jews must denounce what Israel is doing in their name”

Author: Mohamed El-Ghazi
Algeriepatriotique: You come back from the border with Gaza, where you spoke with Israeli soldiers. What do they think about this asymmetric warfare? – A soldier is trained to face another soldier. But in Gaza, they are children who are killed every day. Israeli soldiers are they aware that they are actually committing war crimes ?

Author: Mohamed El-Ghazi
Algeriepatriotique: You come back from the border with Gaza, where you spoke with Israeli soldiers. What do they think about this asymmetric warfare? – A soldier is trained to face another soldier. But in Gaza, they are children who are killed every day. Israeli soldiers are they aware that they are actually committing war crimes ?
Eran Efrati:
Israeli soldiers generally do not believe that the warfare is asymmetric. Because they are, like most Israelis having fear instilled in them by the state and the media their whole life. When a soldier walks into Gaza to fight in a « war » he is actually fighting against his past, present and future. From our infancy, throughout school, our national historical narrative, parents and friends, all we are being told is that we are a few against the many, and that we as Jews are forever persecuted. And all of this indoctrination process is directed to compel us to join the IDF. When combat soldiers enlist, they also undergo 7 months of basic training, preparing them for all out wars against countries with big armies. There is no training to occupy, control and ethnically cleanse, all tasks they will be required to perform, while serving in the West Bank and Gaza. And so even when the reality you see with your eyes is one of a massacre in which you are participating, your mind interprets the situation as a part of your mission to try to defend the Jewish people from Biblical times to the present. Only few of these soldiers will be brave enough to face the reality in front of them and break out of the mold and talk to me.
Have your calls against the war in the Middle East been heard among the Israeli population ? 
Until 4 years ago I used to work for an Israeli NGO called Breaking the Silence. We were a group of veteran combat soldiers speaking out about the realities of the occupation. In my job I took hundreds of testimonies from IDF soldiers and published them in booklets in Hebrew and gave lectures in universities, pre-military academies and to the general public in Israel, as well as guided tours into Hebron and south mt. Hebron every week. I used to truly believe that the work I was doing was meaningful and helping to change the discourse in my country. Sadly, as time goes by, I noticed that the Israeli public seems to only be moving to the right on the political spectrum, and that more and more censorship was being placed on my work, freedom of speech and even my movement. I began to understand that the economic interests in this occupation and the indoctrination of the Israeli public, as well as the media coverage and the seige mentality that the Israeli public has adopted, our mental walls are much higher than the physical ones we build on the ground. And instead of echoing the voice of the few people that were calling for the humane solution and for peace, we were buried under violence and censorship. I then joined the group Boycott from Within, an Israeli group calling for the world to place pressure on Israel from the outside, and to help us free the Palestinians an well as ourselves and our minds from this ongoing occupation.
You are a former soldier and you know the Israeli army from within. Do you think that the IDF will, some day, say « stop! » to hawks who maintain armed conflict in the Middle East ? What actions do you envisage in the next few days to try to stop this dirty war which is currently underway? In your opinion, what will put an end to Israel’s impunity ?
The military elite, just like any other in the world, are being driven by power and money. The IDF actions in the occupied territories, as well as the US all over the world, are pursuing land, grounds for testing weapons, resources, labor power, developing a captive market, and trading of military knowledge and techniques to control people. None of this is about defense or anything else. Israel as a state will never let this power go unless it will be forced to. Neither will the majority of the Israeli public give up its privileges on this land unless forced to. The BDS movement already has a huge impact on the policy makers and on the Israeli population. I believe that the only way to stop this is if there would be no more funding for the Israeli army and international pressure and a cease to trade weapons with Israel, and to implement an international boycott.
Are you in touch with Palestinians inside Gaza? How do they describe the situation there, besides what we see through on TV channels ? 
I have people that I am in touch with in Gaza. In one sentence- this is a horrific situation atrocity, most of the people feel what happens now on their bodies, and say it is much worse than the operation in 2009 « Cast Lead » that we used to talk about as one of the most horrible massacres in recent years. There is indiscriminate bombing, lack of basic food, medicine and water, bombing of hospitals, and ongoing death. There is also a new population of refugees that are created. And all of their is one of the most impoverished and crowded places in the worlds.
What about the Israeli population? Is it critical of Israeli government’s war policy or is it supportive in spite of the many innocent victims on the other side of the border ? 
There is an average of 90 percent support for this operation among the Israeli public. In the last month leftists activists are being targeted almost as much as Palestinians in the streets by mob attacks of Israeli right wing activists.
You call American Jews to oppose Israeli policies. Why American Jews in particular ?
I do not believe it is a religious crisis but a humanitarian one, but I do believe that jews all over the world should rise up and say « not in my name ». The Israeli government claim to act on behalf of all Jews, and it is important to distinguish between Judaism and Zionism. In light of Jewish history, it is important to me to see Jews all over the world rise up and say « never again to no one ».
Why do the mainstream media support the expansionist policies of Israel ?
mainstream media as well as governments and corporations are all lead by profit and lobbyists. The people running the media are part of the global elite whose interests coverage with those of the Israeli government. Military control = financial control. And the oppression is the same oppression.
Did Israel rush to conclusions on the death of the three Israeli teenagers or did it intend to set public opinion on a false trail to justify its aggression against Gaza ?
It is known today the Israeli government knew the three teens were killed in the first day, yet they used the public sentiment to rally support for an offensive in Gaza even though they knew that Hamas was not behind the kidnappings. Israel’s latest aggression towards Gaza was formed for a few reasons: the success of the BDS movement around the world; the unity of Hamas and Fatah that threatened the Israeli rule of the Palestinian territories; 150 administrative detainees that began a hunger strike that began gaining traction around the world; EU countries calling their citizens to withdraw funds from Israel; the Israeli military asks for more money from the government and gets turned down; the peace talks that Kerry lead were discovered as a scam; the collapse of the coalition that put Bibi’s power in danger and weapon companies declared they had a bad year in sales and are now in a much better position. Since the teens were kidnapped, Israel began a big operation, both military and PR. While people were being arrested and killed in the west bank and we started bombing Gaza, at the same time, the Israeli government tried to rally all the public to become ambassadors and PR agents for the state of Israel, since they knew this would lead to a PR problem. This included banners on buses in English, with a hashtag #bringback ourboys, calling people to use social media to rally global support. Make no mistake; we are witnessing a well planned operation of PR masters.

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