Maia Hascal 


As a social worker in the second Lebanon war, I had close contact with many Israeli families who spent the war hiding in their shelters as well as with members of the Lebanese Army who came into Israel. I saw everyone. I also saw the various petitions by conscientious objectors that began circulating through the Israeli army.
I was aware of the great difficulties facing soldiers in the Territories, and absolutely did not consider objection a worthy solution. I believed that individual objection further burdens the soldier who is serving and already struggling. When reserves duty was offered to me, I felt it was my moral obligation and I enlisted.
I spent 21 days in the occupied territories. It was a trauma I will never forget. I was posted between an access road to a small Palestinian village, and another road for military and settler use only. One day in particular, my whole life changed. I remember every detail: exactly where I stood, the 60 year old reserve volunteer who came to replace me, and how I was just about to get into the shower at 1am when I heard gun shots… not singles, but automatic.
The older reservist had noticed a Palestinian on his way to the village, panicked and pulled the trigger. The Palestinian was innocent: he was just a villager walking home – but he did not stand a chance. He was killed instantly. In the chaos that followed, the older reservist, who was almost my father’s age, gave a false statement. When I dared to say that the incident needed to be reported truthfully, I was chided and called a “traitor.” I was asked, “How can you talk like that about someone your father’s age!” That was the moment my innocence began to crack.
My whole life I was taught that the IDF only ever acted according to ethical standards. That belief was now challenged. I realized that basic human goodness could not be preserved in the face of a corrupt system. I had witnessed a murder… and the army lied about it. When I returned to my “normal” life, nothing was normal. Memorial ceremonies were particularly difficult. I was devastated. I felt betrayed by my state, but also felt like a traitor for speaking the truth.
I found relief for the first time when I attended the Combatants for Peace joint Memorial Day Ceremony. There I could tell my story freely, and I found people who could listen, accept and forgive. I’ve been a member of Combatants for Peace ever since. Now, as a member of Combatants for Peace, I work with people from both sides dedicated to a moral and just society for both peoples.

Share on whatsapp
Share on facebook

Share this story

More of our story

مايا كاتس
مايا كاتس حفيدة جد وجدة هاجروا إلى إسرائيل من بولندا قبل الحرب ليبنوا البلاد. نشأة مايا في كيبوتس "عيميك هايردين"، الذي بني على أراضي قرية فلسطينية مهجرة.
جميل قصاص
اسمي جميل القصاص من مخيم الدهيشة للاجئين في بيت لحم، تنحدر عائلتي في الأصل من قرية القبيبة التي تم تهجير أهلها وتدميرها خلال نكبة عام 1948. تبدأ قصتي ومعاناة عائلتي منذ ذلك العام. كانت عائلتي تعيش في واحدة من أجمل القرى الفلسطينية، ولكن نتيجة للنكبة والمجازر التي قامت بها القوات الصهيونية هرب جميع سكان القرية باستثناء جدي حتى قُتل في منزله.