“The Untold Story of the Shejaiya Massacre in Gaza: A Former Israel Soldier Speaks Out” Interview of Eran Efrati by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez on Democracy Now Sept 12, 2014

Click for Source Interview of Eran Efrati by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales on Democracy Now

Eran Efrati = Former Israeli COMBAT SOLIER in IDF who saw the ATROCITIES THE ISRAELIS COMMITTED and was so REPULSED by THEM he became an anti-occupation activist and investigative researcher.

Eran Efrati = recently interviewed several Israeli soldiers who participated in the Shejaiya massacre in Gaza.

Eran Efrati = Later this month will testify at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in Brussels.

FACT: 90+ Palestinians were MURDERED in Gaza neighborhood of Shejaiya on July 20, 2014

Eran Efrati = Was arrested by Israelis after he reported details about the massacre based on interviews he conducted with Israeli soldiers who were there.

FACT: A unarmed injured 23-year-old Palestinian named Salem Khaleel Shamaly is lying in the rubble and is shown being fatally MURDERED by a ISRAELI SNIPER as he attempts to get up on a YouTube video that recorded the shots fired into his body. Family members later stumbled onto the video and identified the man as their son Shamaly.

Eran Efrati = Interviewed three of the Israeli soldiers who witnessed the killing of Salem Khaleel Shamaly = IDF soldiers said they were deliberately targeting civilians in revenge murders.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Israeli military (to avoid outside examination) opened a probe of the massacre and murder of Palestinian civilians.

Israeli Investigators = Supposedly will examine the murder of four Palestinian children on a Gaza beach while playing soccer.

Israeli Investigators = Supposedly will examine another Mass Murder of 14 people in a U.N. school — one of several that hit U.N. shelters by Israelis.

Israeli Investigators = Supposedly will examine 2,100+ Murders of Palestinians in 5 weeks of MASS BOMBINGS AND IDF INVASIONS. 600+ of them Children and 75% Civilians.

FACT: Israel is trying to deflect international scrutiny of their MASS MURDERS!

FACT: United Nations Human Rights Council probe and potential cases before the International Criminal Court are being perused.

Israeli army = NOT announced any investigation of the notorious Shejaiya massacre in July of 90 Palestinians.

AMY GOODMAN: Shejaiya is one of Gaza’s poorest and most crowded neighborhoods. A YouTube shows the fatal shooting of wounded unarmed Palestinian = We see Shamaly lying on the ground, wounded by an unseen sniper and ss Shamaly tries to get to his feet, two more shots ring out. He stops moving.

GOODMAN: We now talk to a former IDF soldier, Eran Efrati, who interviewed three active Israeli soldiers who witnessed to the killing of Salem Shamaly. They informed Eran that the IDF soldiers deliberately targeting civilians as revenge. Why did you interview Israeli soldiers?

ERAN EFRATI: My job for almost five years now, since Operation Cast Lead (2008) is collecting testimonies from soldiers because I was a soldier. I know that what we get in the mainstream media is very far from what’s really going on in the area. 

ERAN EFRATI: This summer in my home in Jerusalem in my home I saw the fascist atmosphere in the streets and the overall approval of Israelis terrible massacre of Palestinians that was so overwhelming. So I decided to go to the border with Gaza and try to speak directly with the soldiers, because I knew the truth would was there.

ERAN EFRATI: The Israeli army committed crimes against humanity in Gaza, what they want is to investigate themselves. The Israeli army controls all of Israeli society including the Israeli media, the Israeli court, and impose censorship. Nobody including researchers can publish anything on TV, Radio, newspapers, or bloggers and Internet in Israel without Army approval. Nobody can publish anything if it doesn’t go through the IDF censorship — IDF censorship has covered up crimes for years under the occupation of the Palestinians. So now the IDF Censors people with facts to come to them, to be silenced by them. It’s, of course, ridiculous.

GOODMAN: What brings you to the United States?

ERAN EFRATI: I’m doing my investigative research for the last five years on the Israeli army and the American army and the arm trades between them.

ERAN EFRATI: But the Shejaiya massacre story I encountered this summer was just to incredible a story was so terrible in the Shejaiya neighborhood but reflected the entire murder of 2,100+ Palestinians.

AMY GOODMAN: You were arrested by the Israeli military.

ERAN EFRATI: Yes, after publishing my results of the interviews with soldiers I knew before this operation and continue to be in touch with them until today. I asked them by phone what happened in 2014. The soldiers were very surprised because they were not used to such strong resistance from the Palestinians inside Gaza — Not seen since Lebanon. In the 2009 and 2012 murder campaigns the IDF lost very few soldiers — Maybe 12 total mostly was from our friendly fire — IDF killed most of our IDF soldiers.

ERAN EFRATI: In 2014 the idea of IDF soldiers are being killed by Palestinians was something new — Losing almost immediately 13 soldiers/day. After a hard day of IDF Bombing the night of the Shejaiya massacre that killed 90+ Palestinians, the infantry soldiers were going through the neighborhood and using houses as bases and waiting for other commands. Commanders in those houses sent soldiers orders to get ready for an extended killing. When they ask why, they’re told they’re hurting in revenge for their losses, and that they will have a chance to take out their frustration on Palestinians in the morning as families start to come back into their neighborhood.

ERAN EFRATI: Civilians were looking for family members bodies they left behind under the rubbles. People going around the neighborhood and screaming names of family members, looking for them—obviously unarmed civilians. IDF OFFICERS told the soldiers in the houses that there is an imaginary red line in the sand to determine if they’re at risk or not — Whoever cross this imaginary red line will be they will MURDER them. Of course, that’s not something new — Happened in 2009 and in 2012. But this time, the imaginary red line was drawn very, very far from the house. Snipers were sitting at the windows waiting for orders.

ERAN EFRATI: Salem Shamaly was one who came back with looking for their family member and he unknowingly crossed one of these red lines. So the IDF sniper at the window asks his commander, if he could shoot? His commander tells him, “Wait,” two times, and then gives him the first approve. They first shot is to the left side of his body and his hand and Salem Shamaly falls into the rubble. Then the IDF sniper asks for another approval to finish him off. The officer says, “Wait, wait,” and then he’s gives the approve to finish Salem Shamaly off. This is not the only such case, but it is the case documented by video and by international activists in Shejaiya.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: You, yourself, was a combat soldier in the Israeli army. Talk about the transformation that you went through.

ERAN EFRATI: I grew up in a very Zionist, militaristic home. My father was the head of investigation for the Israeli police. My mother was an officer in the army. My brother was an officer in a special unit in the Israeli army. So I come from a military background in Israel, and waited all of my youth to join the army. It was obvious to me that this is the place I need to be.

ERAN EFRATI: On (an Indoctrination trip) in the 11th grade, I went to Polish camps with my classmates and saw Auschwitz, the same camp that my grandma survived, and all others in our family were killed there. I got the message that if I want to stop a second Holocaust from happening, I have to go back home, join the IDF military and stop a second Holocaust from happening.

ERAN EFRATI: I joined the IDF and went through seven months of boot camp, getting ready for a war, getting ready to stop the second Holocaust from happening. But at the end of these seven months, I’m not finding myself in the middle of the West Bank, in a city with 180,000 Palestinians with another city in the middle of it — with 800 Jewish settlers, that was told to protect.

ERAN EFRATI: Very fast I understand what my job was in the West Bank:

#1 Control Palestinian lives
#2 Protect the Israeli arms trade
#3 Testing new weapons on the ground
#4 Protect Israeli rights to EXPLOIT Palestinian workers Used in the mines
#5 Protection of interests of the rich and its government in Israel.

AMY GOODMAN: What was the Israeli military’s response to your transformation?

ERAN EFRATI: I started sending stories outside, from Hebron, into Breaking the Silence. When I left the army after four years, I was a IDF sergeant and I joined Breaking the Silence assigned to taking testimonies and trying to publish them. But soon I found I could NOT publish much of my material, because even Breaking the Silence is under IDF army censorship. Breaking the Silence is an organization that collects testimonies from soldiers all across the West Bank and Gaza, and tries to publish them for the Israeli public and to the world. But even Breaking the Silence is under the IDF military censorship — Actually only breaking the silence that the Israeli government let them. Everything must be approved by the Israeli Army before the public can see it.

AMY GOODMAN: We end by showing the video of the young man, Shamaly, in Shejaiya and you’ll hear him as he is laying there shot, and then shot again, and shot again —

ERAN EFRATI: We need to understand that there was hundreds of thousands refugees in Gaza during this MASS MURDER “LAWN MOWING” operation running away, trying to save their life, leaving family members behind. To this day many don’t know if their loved ones were murdered or not. People are still looking for their relatives. His family had to watch YouTube to see their son being killed by a IDF sniper in Shejaiya. That is how they found out he’s dead.


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