By Violeta Moura
When Avihai Stollar was 19, he served as a first seargent in the Israeli military. He was sent to watch over Palestinians during the first four years of the Second Intifada, which lasted from 2000-05. Reflecting on the recent stabbings of Israelis by Palestinian youths, he told me, "some from this generation of Palestinian youths, who have been engaging in violence over the last few weeks, are the same 7-year-old kids in front of whom their daddy was humiliated by us when we were soldiers 13 years ago.”
Stollar is one of a minority of Israeli soldiers who are deployed in combat positions to the West Bank and Gaza. In the last few years, he and a group of Israeli combat veterans, who call themselves "Breaking the Silence," have spoken out against the occupation. They entered compulsory military service at 18 believing that they were serving and protecting their country. But, as they explained to me, they soon found that their mission was very different, and possibly even illegal. It was, as they told me, to “perpetuate control over the Palestinians territories and its civilian population."