The play, adapted from the testimony of Israeli soldiers, was recently produced in Washington, DC.
This oppression is destructive for everyone: Palestinian civilians obviously suffer daily, and the Israeli soldiers — who are told “your mission is to disrupt lives” — are forced to stop thinking and do what they are ordered to do, even when the must carry out actions that are inhumane. This is called “mind occupation,” and I’m glad that some soldiers have managed to free their minds and break the silence.
This video is a production called “It’s What We Do: A Play About the Occupation,” produced and directed by Pam Nice, a member of the Washington, DC, chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace.
Although it is a drama, the dialogue of the soldiers is adapted from the actual testimonies of Israeli soldiers from Breaking the Silence, whose vivid memories continue to haunt them. The target audience is Jewish viewers. But several We Are Not Numbers writers, who have been “targets” of Israeli soldiers, watched the video, curious to see how far the the soldiers were willing to go in their confessions. It was difficult for many of them to watch, and their reactions varied. But they all agreed the video should be required viewing for people everywhere.
As I watched “It’s What We Do: A Play About the Occupation,” many questions sprang to my mind: Does confessing commission of crimes against Palestinians make Israeli soldiers noble people? Or does knowing that these men and women have belatedly felt some remorse make the experience less painful for Palestinians?
As a Palestinian living in Gaza, one whose brother and four best friends were killed in the last Israeli war on my home, I have to admit that watching this play didn’t make me feel better. It made me feel sick — sick that this is what it takes to prove our suffering is real to the outside world.