I guess that relatively speaking, I used to talk to my family about things; I told myself things too... When I traveled around Israel to interview soldiers, I witnessed a lot of beautiful processes, processes that a person undergoes in an hour. It would start by a person saying, Look, if you want I can tell you a few things. I don't know though; nothing special happened. Then I would ask, how long they served in the Territories; Two years, but I can't really recall any extreme occurrence. If you live life with movies about the Holocaust and you didn't line people up in ditches and kill them, then really, it isn't that extreme.
But then suddenly a person will say, Oh, yeah. Bribes? Not bribery. Occasionally I took a cigarette. Then I'd say, "Only cigarettes? Didn't you ever take a masbaha [rosary] that people play with when you were at a checkpoint?" Yes, but they offer; it's all good natured. So I persisted, "How about pita and food?" Well, that too. They offer it, but they're happy to. This goes on until I ask, "Did you ever delay1 Yes, but he violated the curfew so I detained him for 4 hours or so. Gradually this person realized different things about himself. It starts out with minor things like bumming a cigarette, which maybe isn't so bad in itself, but then it goes to a different place: Oh, I do remember that when we demolished the house the house next door came down too. I hadn't considered that... yeah. You know what else, there were a few donkeys in the house so maybe they died. Come to think of it, an entire neighborhood came down there after we left, but we weren't on it. We were dead tired. a person for violating a curfew?"
Gradually houses demolished without a reason are remembered, people who died for no apparent reason; there are things you cannot fathom. The conspiracy of silence doesn't mean that this person didn't talk about it at home because he was embarrassed to, but because he forgot pretty quickly. I say "he" but I'm also talking about myself. I've also reached a level where I could think over how angry I once got at a group of taxi drivers because they indirectly served people who avoided the curfew—the workers who left Jericho to go to work. The taxi drivers waited for them to return and that really irritated me; it was after a night without any sleep... I ordered them to leave and they didn't want to. They gave me the finger; in the end I shot tear gas at them. I asked for permission and a sleepy clerk gave me the okay, so I shot tear gas. They ran away, came back, and laughed. It really annoyed me; how dare they laugh at me?
When you come to understand the levels of aggression you have reached, it's easy to see how people get into the situations they do, especially at checkpoints, where things I don't even want to think about are unleashed. People repress and society represses this; society usually doesn't even know.
An article about an officer who went crazy was published about somebody who served at Qalandiya [checkpoint]. My aunt put it on my cousin's bed because she knew he served there, he was an officer. He yelled at her and said she couldn't understand what was going on there. She didn't exactly know whether the article was about him or not, but it was about delaying people for hours, as usual, delaying people, taking apart cars to inspect them so people are delayed for hours—take everything out then put everything in—or telling a driver to take the long way around which means a 3-4 hour drive. I don't know what specifically happened in this case, but you just go crazy because you are edgy and everybody yells at you and you have to please both your superiors and your subordinates... then some stupid person comes and wants to pass through the checkpoint and hasn't got a permit, or his permit is invalid; so what does he want?
The stress makes things come undone—and it isn't because the person is bad. It could be me or you, or anyone. The situation causes it. Shovrim Shtika's idea is to show that as much as the people on our side are good, it doesn't make us benevolent out there.