In shameless displays of social depravity, Israeli soldiers are looting Gaza homes en masse

In shameless displays of social depravity, Israeli soldiers are looting Gaza homes en masse

Oren Ziv reports:

Israeli soldiers fighting in Gaza have not been shy about posting videos on social media gleefully documenting their wanton destruction of buildings and humiliation of Palestinian detainees. Some of these clips were even exhibited in South Africa’s presentation at the International Court of Justice last month as evidence of genocide. But there is another war crime being readily documented by Israeli soldiers that has garnered less attention and condemnation despite its prevalence: looting.

In November, the Palestinian singer Hamada Nasrallah was shocked to discover a TikTok of a soldier playing the guitar that his father had bought him 15 years earlier. Other videos uploaded to social media in recent months show Israeli soldiers boasting about finding wristwatches; unboxing someone’s collection of soccer shirts; and stealing rugs, groceries, and jewelry.

In a Facebook group for Israeli women comprising nearly 100,000 users, someone wondered what to do with the “gifts from Gaza” that her partner, a soldier, had brought back for her. Sharing a photo of cosmetic products, she wrote: “Everything is sealed except for one product. Would you use these? And does someone know the products or are they only in Gaza?”

Indeed, since the start of Israel’s ground invasion in late October, soldiers have been taking whatever they can get their hands on from the homes of Palestinians who have been forced to flee. More than an open secret, the phenomenon has been widely — and uncritically — reported in the Israeli media, while rabbis from the Religious Zionist movement have been answering soldiers’ questions about what is permissible to loot according to Jewish law. [Continue reading…]

A commonplace rationalization of amoral behavior by soldiers is that warfare can bring out the worst in people and yet the behavior of IDF soldiers in Gaza speaks to a much more deeply rooted issue: the debased character of Israeli society.

An abstract for Do Israelis Respect Human Dignity?, a policy paper by Alouph Hareven, published by The Israel Democracy Institute says:

Most Israelis share the perception that the condition of human dignity in Israel is problematic. There are of course tens of thousand of Israelis who daily practice the respect of human dignity – in their families, at work, in relationship to persons belonging to other groups. Yet, according to repeated public opinion surveys most Israelis attach to “who is an Israeli” mainly qualities of rudeness, intolerance, incivility and loudness.

Human dignity is harmed in Israel in several major areas:

  • About one millions Israelis live in families where the men use violence against their wives.
  • In the rate of violence among young people, in schools, Israel is a leading country.
  • In the rate of people killed in traffic accidents Israel, again, is one of the leading countries.
  • Lack of respect, and humiliation of new immigrants is a major barrier to their integration in Israeli society.
  • On many occasions there is mutual lack of respect of human dignity in the relations between secular and religious Jews.
  • There are many cases where human dignity is harmed inside the Israel Defance Forces, in the behavior of policemen, and in the behavior of public officials. The prevailing public view of the behavior of Knesset members is that most of them do not respect the human dignity of their colleagues.
  • According to top security officials, and leading Palestinians, daily humiliation of Palestinians, by Israelis, has been a major cause of the intifada and the seeking of revenge.
  • Foreign workers in Israel, who number a few hundred thousand, also often suffer from humiliating behavior by their employees and other Israelis.
  • Many Israeli tourists abroad – though of course not all of them – have through their rude behavior accorded a negative image to Israelis.

The basic law on Human Dignity and Freedom has thus far not contributed to a change in the behavior of most Israelis. Indeed, most of them have never even read the law. A core question for the future of Israel is therefore: How can we make the respect of human dignity a prevalent behavior? [Continue reading…]

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