By Uri Avnery, Christopher Costello
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Extra info for 1948: A Soldier's Tale - The Bloody Road to Jerusalem
We stop shooting. Our people have occupied the edge of the village. They are running from house to house, just the way they learned. I can’t see whether they are taking prisoners. Now it is our turn, to take the center of the village. Our mood reaches its peak. ” I jump over the wall. The second platoon jump and throw themselves on the ground. ” I jump, run ten paces and drop to the ground. Bullets whistle over my head. They are not coming from the village. They are coming from the steep hill to the left.
In a few hours they will be living together, standing in line at the mess, pushing for a place to shave in the morning, borrowing shoe polish from each other, and firing off ancient curses in fourteen different languages. But now they are still foreign to each other. The distance between them is enormous – locally born, traditional Yemenites, Yekkes,12 fat and thin, a roundish youth with glasses who was yesterday the director of finance in a factory, and little Ezra, who sold ice cream on the beach, standing there like a crooked question mark.
From the noise of the shots I can estimate roughly, but I can’t see anything. My turn to be replaced. The ladder is in view of the snipers. As I climb down two bullets whistle past me. We have all become indifferent. You can’t be bothered to keep your head down or to hide when you can’t see the enemy. I find a pickax and begin to break open the locked doors of the houses. We heard that a large quantity of weapons was found in one part of the village. I enter the first room. An awful stink. A torn and fouled mattress, a broken jug, a rusty sickle, goat and donkey droppings.