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“They’re the army. They’re always right”

by Yifat Appelbaum, January 24th

A. made some fried squash tonight at the office. He looked a little more serious than he usually looks. As we were eating, he told me a story.

“Today I was at Qalandia,” he started, “Some army jeeps started going down the road towards Ramallah. And there were some kids.”

(pause)(nod) Ok, I think I know where this is heading..

He continued, “And they started throwing rocks.”

(pause) Yeah I know how this is going to end up and I’m starting to get that sick feeling in my stomach.

“And the soldiers fired one shot.”


“It hit them?” I asked.

“Yeah, it was really close, from 5 meters, and live ammo. And then the jeep drove away. I wish I knew who to call to find out if he’s ok, if he’s still alive.”

“Dude that sucks.” was all I could think of to say.

long pause… all kinds of stuff running through my head.. was this the first person he saw get shot ? Of course not. He’s been shot himself, at least three times I think. He’s Palestinian. He’s from
Jenin for christ sakes. Ok, I’ll try not ask any dumb questions.

“How many people have you seen get shot ?” Wait, that’s a dumb question, I bet he’s lost count.

“Well the worst was this time in Jenin. Some kids were let out of school, and some soldiers invaded and occupied a house near the school. I was in Tulkarem at the time and my friend called and said there was a problem so I hurried back.”

“There were some kids throwing rocks. A soldier shot my brother’s friend twice in the stomach. Then he tried to escape, and the soldier got out of the jeep and finished him off. Right there in front of me. He was 15.”

“In the newspaper they said he was carrying a bomb and that’s why they shot him.”

(long pause) Don’t ask him for details.

“Can’t anyone say anything to argue with the army about that ?” I ask. Shit that was a dumb question.

“They’re the army,” he said “They’re always right. You can’t argue with them. They do whatever they want. If they go into Nablus and kill a couple fighters and some kids too, they’ll say they only killed fighters.”

I’ve been here a year now and I still naively think there there is some semblance of justice here. I am so wrong.