THE TYPE OF CRETIN
DRIVES A D-9
Attempting To Erase Palestine...
"I made them a stadium in the middle of the camp" / Tsadok Yeheskeli, Yediot Aharonot
is a unique document. It was published in Yediot Aharonot, Israel's most widely
circulated tabloid paper, on May 31,
2002. It is the first absolutely sincere Israeli
eye-witness testimony on what actually happened in Jenin, by one of
those who did it and are
proud of it.
Apart from the shocking revelations, this is also a startling human document.
After publication - and in spite of it - the
unit to which the man belongs
received from the army command an official citation
for outstanding service.
"I entered Jenin, driven by madness, by desperation, in the worst
told my wife: "If anything happens to me, at least someone will take care of you".
"The funny bit was, I didn't even know how to operate the D-9."
"Within two hours, they taught me to drive
forwards, and make a flat surface."
"I tied the 'Beitar' football team flag to the back of the bulldozer and told them: "Move away, let me
"For three days,
I just erased and erased"
kept drinking whisky to fight off fatigue"
"I didn't see dead bodies under the blade of the D-9, but I don't care if there where any."
Moshe Nissim, nicknamed "Kurdi Bear (1) " , the D-9 operator who became the terror of
the Jenin refugee camp inhabitants, speaks with no censorship about his time of glory.
"I entered Jenin driven by madness, by desperation,
I have nothing to loose, That even if I 'get it', no big deal.
I told my wife:
"If anything happens to me,
at least someone will take care of you!".
I started my reserve
service, in the worst conditions possible. Maybe this is
why I didn't give a damn.
Not about explosive charges, not about gun fire.
"My life was in deep shit for the past one and a half years. For almost
half a year
I am suspended from work as a senior inspector in the Jerusalem municipality.
I worked there
for 17 years, till that cursed day, January the 20 th ,
exactly my 40 th birthday,
when the police came and arrested me.
They said that I and my colleagues in the inspection unit are suspected for being bribed
by contractors and other business owners, that in fact, we are a corrupted bunch.
"This is a
terrible injustice. I am a very friendly guy, and in
this job you mix with people
you inspect. But bribery? Me?
I am in debt for hundreds of thousands of Shekels long before all this story. Had
I taken bribes, I would have money, but I couldn't even pay the lawyer. Since
then I am suspended. My wife was fired as well, and I have four children to keep.
"This was not the first blow. A few months
earlier, I was injured badly in my back,
my wife was fired, and my son got run
over and had to be operated to save his leg.
Today he is OK, but his big dream, and mine, that he will once be a player in the Beitar
Jerusalem team, this dream is probably gone forever. Pity. He was really talented.
I have already promised him to get him into the children's Beitar team.
"For two years, it is just one blow after
another. I haven't got a cent, but I love people.
I cannot be indifferent. Every
holiday, I distribute food packages for the needy. The same
at Passover. I ran
around like crazy. And just then, I started getting phone calls from the guys:
"Kurdi", they said, "we are all being recruited to do reserve service, but you are not called."
that I understood my commanders. Hey, I've been doing my reserves
duty for 16
years now, and I was useless. I did nothing but make trouble.
"During my obligatory Military service (2) I was constantly sentenced
to prison, because
I refused to be a vehicle electrician. In my unit as well,
in the bulldozer unit, I was
supposed to be an electrician, but actually, I did
nothing, just messed around. I would
come to the unit, and immediately open a
card table, open a bottle. If any officer
would dare send me to guard duty, I
would send him first. Kurdi always did his thing.
If I felt like going to a Beitar football match, or going home,
no one could stop me. I would just start the car and go.
"Truth is, they didn't even know me. When
I am given responsibility, I can act differently,
In the "Versailles"
disaster (3) I was in charge of all the inspection team on location.
When I was
seen by one of the guys of my military unit, he was shocked.
He said: "In the army you can't tie your shoelaces, and here
you are a big chief!"
The truth is that when I finally decide to do something, I am one stubborn guy. I will go
for it till the end. This time was one of those moments. What haven ' t I done for them to
take me? I sent the guys to twist the battalion commander's arm, I phoned the company
commander, I drove them mad. "I promise to work", I pleaded with
battalion commander. Finally, he agreed to give me a chance.
"I said to myself: "Kurdi, you can't let them down. No more
The speaker is Moshe Nissim, AKA "Moshe Nissim Beitar Jerusalem".
In the Jenin refugee camp, he was called, over
the military radio: "Kurdi Bear".
Kurdi, because this is the name he insisted on. Bear,
the D-9 he was driving, demolishing house after house.
There was not one soldier in Jenin that did not hear this name. Kurdi Bear was
considered the most devoted, brave and probably the most destructive operator.
A man, that the Jenin camp inquiry committee,
would want very much to have a word with.
For 75 hours, with no break, he sat on the huge bulldozer,
charges exploding around him, and erased house after house.
His story, which he tells openly and with no
inhibitions, is far from being a regular war myth.
Medals, so it seems, will not
be awarded for it. (Actually, his
company was later awarded a citation for outstanding
"The funny bit is, I didn't even know how to operate the D-9. I have
been an operator. But I begged them to give me a chance to learn.
Before we went into Shekhem (Nablus), I asked some of the guys to
teach me. They
sat with me for two hours. They taught me how to drive forwards
and make a flat surface.
"I took it on with no problem and told them:
'That's it. Move aside
and let me work.'.
This is what happened in Jenin as well. I have never demolished a house before, or even
a wall. I got into the D-9 with a friend of mine, a Yemenite.
him work for an hour, and then told him, 'OK. I got the idea.'
"But the real thing started the day 13 of our soldiers
were killed up that alley in the Jenin refugee camp.
"When they brought us in, I knew that nobody
wanted to work with me. They were afraid
to be with me on the bulldozer. Not only
did I have a reputation of a troublemaker, but also
of a man who knows no fear,
and they were right about that. I really have no fear. They
knew I had no fear,
that I don't give a damn, and that I can go anywhere, without asking
without an escort of tanks or APC's or anything. Once, in Jenin, I left the tank
that escorted us everywhere. I wanted to have a spin around the camp, see what's going on.
Gadi, the other operator who was with me, nearly fainted. He started going mad: 'Get back,'
he shouted, 'we have no escort!', but I had to get to know the place better, to find an exit,
just in case we needed one. I was not afraid to die. At least I was insured.
would have helped my family.
"When we got into the camp, the D-9's were already waiting. They where hauled from
Shekhem (Nablus). I got the big D-9 L, me and the Yemenite, my partner. First thing I
did was to tie the Beitar team flag. I had it prepared in advance. I wanted the family to
be able to identify me. I told the family and the kids: 'you will see my bulldozer on television.
When you see the Beitar flag, that will be me'. And this is exactly what happened.
"I know it
sounds crazy, but for me, to hang this flag was completely natural. Like eating.
look at this Beitar pendant around my neck. It never comes off. Not off me, and
not off the kids. I carry the Beitar flags everywhere I go. Look at my car, all covered with
these flags. This is the way I am. I always go to the Beitar matches, in a Beitar colored
Galabia (an Arab man's dress), and a big drum of the Kurds from the C. Once, after our
first national championship, I took a ride on the roof of a car, carrying the drum,
all the way to Jerusalem.
"Beitar is a kink in my brain. There is no other way to explain it. After my family, it
most important thing in my life, and the only thing that can kill me. In
Jenin, I was not
scared for a moment, but I cannot go to the Beitar matches for
half a year now. The suspense
kills me, and I am constantly afraid of getting
a heart attack. Sometimes, I can walk around
'Teddy' (the main Jerusalem stadium)
with a ticket in my hand, and I can't go in. In one
match, in Beit Shean, I fainted
after they scored a goal. I know how this sounds, but
that's the way it is. Incurable.
At home, they know
better than to talk to me if Beitar lost a match.
"So now you
understand why the Beitar flag was on the bulldozer in Jenin. Someone
that my commander wanted to take it off. But no way. If I had a say in the matter,
there would be a Beitar flag on the top of the mosque in the camp. I tried convincing the
Golani (an infantry brigade of the Israeli army) officer I worked with to let me
go up there and hang it, but he refused. He said I would be shot if I tried. Pity.
"The flag was the most outstanding object
in the camp. Reservists who went home on
short leave came back with Beitar flags,
just to imitate me. It made a lot of noise, my flag.
The Golani soldiers were
stunned. 'You brought Beitar here,' they told me.
And I said: 'I am going to make
a Teddy stadium here. Don't you worry.'.
"On the radio, they wanted to call me 'Moshe-Bear', but I insisted on Kurdi. I told the
I am Kurdi, and I won't answer if you call me by any other name.'
That is how 'Kurdi Bear' was born. This is my name, and I am stubborn.
"In the reserves, they already got used
to my signature: 'Moshe Nissim Beitar
Jerusalem'.For a while they asked me to
stop it, but finally they just gave up.
"The moment I drove the bulldozer into the camp, something switched in
I went mad. All the desperation, caused by my personal condition, just
vanished at once.
All that remained was the anger over what had happened to our
guys. Till now I am
convinced, and so are the rest of us, that if we were let
into the camp earlier,
with all our might, twenty-four soldiers would not have
been killed in this camp.
"The moment I went into the camp, for the first time, I just thought of how to help these
soldiers. These fighters. Children the age of my son. I couldn't grasp how
they worked there, were a charge blows up on you, with every step you take.
"With the first mission I was given, to open a track
inside the camp, I understood what kind of hell this was.
"My first mission, voluntarily, was to bring
the soldiers food. I was told: 'The only way to get
food in there, is with the
D-9'. They haven't eaten in two days. You couldn't poke your
nose out. I filled
the bulldozer till the roof, and drove the bulldozer right up to the door of
post, so that they would not have to take even one step outside
One step was enough in order to lose an arm or a leg.
"You could not tell where the charges were. They (the Palestinian fighters)
in the ground and planted charges. You would just start driving, and
you would hit a 3"
pipe, welded on both ends. As you touch them, they go
off. Everything was booby trapped.
Even the walls of houses. Just touch them,
and they blow up. Or, they would shoot you
the moment you entered. There were
charges in the roads, under the floor, between the
walls. As you make an opening,
something goes off. I saw a bird cage blow up in some
pet shop, where we opened
a track. A flying birdcage. I felt sorry for the birds.
They just planted charges
"For me, in the D-9, it was nothing. I didn't mind.
You would just
hear the explosions.
Even 80 Kilos of explosives only rattled the bulldozer's blade. It weighs three and a half tons
(4) . It's a monster. A tank can get hit in the belly. It's belly is sensitive. With the D-9, you
should only look out for RPG's or 50 Kilos of explosives on the roof. But I didn't think about
it then. The only thing that mattered was that these soldiers
risk themselves just to eat or drink something."
"I fell in love with those children. I was willing to do with my bulldozer
would ask for. I begged for work: 'Let me finish another house,
open another track.'
They, in return, protected me. I would leave the bulldozer without weapons, nothing.
Just walked in. They told me I am mad, but I said: 'Leave me alone. Anyhow, the armored
vest will not save me.' This is how I worked. Even without a shirt. Half naked.
"Do you know how I held out for 75 hours?
I didn't get off the bulldozer. I had no problem
of fatigue, because I drank whisky
all the time. I had a bottle in the bulldozer at all times.
I had put them in
my bag in advance. Everybody else took clothes, but I knew
what was waiting for
me there, so I took whisky and something to munch on.
"Clothes? Didn't need any. A towel was enough. Anyhow I could not leave
You open the door, and get a bullet. For 75 hours I didn't think
about my life at home,
about all the problems. Everything was erased. Sometimes
images of terror
attacks in Jerusalem crossed my mind. I witnessed some of them."
of our weapons
"What is 'opening a track'? You erase buildings. On both sides. There is no other choice,
because the bulldozer was much wider than their alleys. But I am not looking for excuses
or anything. You must 'shave' them. I didn't give a damn about demolishing their houses,
because it saved the lives of our soldiers. I worked where our soldiers were slaughtered.
They didn't tell all the truth about what happened. they drilled holes in the walls, holes
for gun barrels. Anyone who escaped the charges, was shot through these holes.
"I had no mercy for anybody. I would erase
anyone with the D-9, just so that our soldiers
won't expose themselves to danger.
That's what I told them. I was afraid for our soldiers.
You could see them sleeping
together, 40 soldiers in a house, all crowded. My heart
went out for them. This
is why I didn't give a damn about demolishing all the houses I've
and I have demolished plenty. By the end, I built the 'Teddy' football stadium there.
"Difficult? No way. You must be kidding.
I wanted to destroy everything. I begged the officers,
over the radio, to let
me knock it all down; from top to bottom. To level everything. It's not
I wanted to kill. Just the houses. We didn't harm those who came out of the houses
had started to demolish, waving white flags. We screwed just those who wanted to fight.
"No one refused an order to knock down a
house. No such thing. When I was told to bring
down a house, I took the opportunity
to bring down some more houses; not because I
wanted to - but because when you
are asked to demolish a house, some other houses
usually obscure it, so there
is no other way. I would have to do it even if I didn't want to.
They just stood
in the way. If I had to erase a house, come hell or high water - I would do it.
believe me, we demolished too little. The whole camp was littered with detonation charges.
What actually saved the lives of the Palestinians themselves,
if they had returned to their homes, they would blow up.
"For three days, I just destroyed and destroyed. The whole area. Any house
fired from came down. And to knock it down, I tore down some more. They
by loudspeaker to get out of the house before I come, but I gave no
one a chance. I didn't
wait. I didn't give one blow, and wait for them to come
out. I would just ram the house with
full power, to bring it down as fast as possible.
I wanted to get to the other houses. To get
as many as possible. Others may have
restrained themselves, or so they say. Who
are they kidding? Anyone who was there,
and saw our soldiers in the houses, would understand
they were in a death trap.
I thought about saving them. I didn't give a damn about
the Palestinians, but
I didn't just ruin with no reason. It was all under orders.
"Many people where inside houses we stto demolish. They would
come out of the houses
we where working on. I didn't see, with my own eyes, people
dying under the blade of the
D-9. and I didn't see house falling down on live
people. But if there were any, I wouldn't c
are at all. I am sure people died inside
these houses, but it was difficult to see, there was
lots of dust everywhere,
and we worked a lot at night. I found joy with every house that
came down, because
I knew they didn't mind dying, but they cared for their homes. If you
down a house, you buried 40 or 50 people for generations.
If I am sorry for anything,
it is for not tearing the whole camp down.
"I didn't stop for a moment. Even when we had a two-hour break,
I insisted on going on.
I prepared a ramp, to destroy a four-story building. Once
I steered sharply to the right,
and a whole wall came down. Suddenly I heard shouting
on the radio: 'Kurdi, watch it!
It is us!' Turns out there where our guys inside,
and they forgot to tell me.
"I had plenty of satisfaction. I really enjoyed it. I remember pulling down a wall of a four-story
building. It came crashing down on my D-9. My partner screamed at me to reverse, but I
let the wall come down on us. We would go for the sides of the buildings,
and then ram them. If the job was to hard, we would ask for a tank shell.
"I couldn't stop. I wanted to work and work.
There was this Golani officer who gave us
orders by radio - I drove him mad. I
kept begging for more and more missions. On Sunday,
after the fighting was over,
we got orders to pull our D-9's out of the area, and stop working
on our 'football
stadium', because the army didn't want the cameras and press to see
I was really upset, because I had plans to knock down the big sign at the
of Jenin - three poles with a picture of Arafat. But on Sunday, they pulled us away
I had time to do it.
"I bitched them to give me more work. I would tell them, over the radio: 'Why are you letting
me rest? I want more work!' All this time, I was really sick. I had fever. I got back from
Jenin wiped out. Torn to bits. The next day, I went up again. One of the guys was ill, and
I volunteered to help. I got back there. The battalion-commander was in shock when he
saw me. The other operators all cracked up and needed
but I refused to leave. I wanted more.
"I had lots of satisfaction in Jenin, lots of satisfaction. It was like getting all the
of doing nothing - into three days. The soldiers came up to me and said:
'Kurdi, thanks a lot.
Thanks a lot'. And I hurt for the Thirteen (5) . If we had
moved into the building
where they were ambushed, we would have buried all those
" I kept thinking of our soldiers. I didn't feel sorry for all those Palestinians who were left
homeless. I just felt sorry for their children, who were not guilty. There was one wounded
child, who was shot by Arabs. A Golani paramedic came down and changed his bandages,
till he was evacuated. We took care of them, of the children. The soldiers
gave them candy. But I had no mercy for the parents of these children.
I remembered the picture on television, of the
mother who said she will bear children so
that they will explode in Tel Aviv.
I asked the Palestinian women I saw there: 'Aren't you ashamed?'
"After I finished the work, I got out of the bulldozer, piled
up some clothes on the side of
the road, and fell asleep. They looked after me,
so that I won't get run over by a tank or
something. All the fatigue of the past
75 hours just landed on me. There was a lot of
excitement in what I did. The fact
that I did a good job operating the bulldozer, the soldiers
who came to me, after
it was all over, and said: 'thank you'. This was enough for me. I miss
invited all of them for Kubeh at my place. Their commander, Kobi,
the one I worked
with throughout the 75 hours, was amazed by the invitation.
'Do you want the entire company to come over to your house?'
I told him: 'As
far as I am concerned, bring the whole battalion.'
I phoned my mother, from the D-9, and told her that the whole
battalion was coming. She said: 'no sweat'. I am waiting for them".
"I know many people will think that my attitude
stems from me being a 'Beitar' and 'Likud'
member (6) . It is true. I am heavily
on the right. But this has nothing to do with what I have
done in Jenin. I have
many Arab friends. And I say, if a man has done nothing - don't
touch him. A man
who has done something - hang him, as far as I am concerned. Even
a pregnant woman
- shoot her without mercy, if she has a terrorist behind her. This is the
I thought in Jenin. I answered to no one. Didn't give a damn. The main thing was to
help our soldiers. If I had been given three weeks, I would have had more fun.
is, If they would let me tear the whole camp down. I have no mercy.
"All the human rights organizations and the UN that messed with
Jenin, and turned what
we have done there into such an issue, are just bullshitting,
lying. Lots of the walls in
those houses just exploded by themselves, at our slightest
touch. It is true, though, that
during the last days we smashed the camp. And
yes, it was justified.
They mowed our soldiers down. They had a chance to surrender.
"No one expressed
any reservations against doing it. Not only me. Who would dare speak?
would as much as open his mouth, I would have buried him under the D-9. This is
reason I didn't mind seeing the hundred by hundred (7) we've flattened. As far as I am
concerned, I left them with a football stadium, so they can play. This was our gift to the
camp. Better than killing them. They will sit quietly. Jenin will not return to what it use to be."
Two days after
getting out of Jenin, 'Kurdi Bear' was admitted into hospital, suffering from
pneumonia. As it turned out, the 75 straight hours in the D-9 took their toll. Some days
after he had returned home, a phone call woke him up in the middle of the night.
"I got home one night, and for some reason,
I couldn't sleep. I was uncomfortable.
Till 4 AM I just wandered about, suddenly the phone rings: 'Are you
I sked what happened. 'Get over here, to the hospital.' 'Tell me the truth' I told her.
'I must know'. She said that: 'Things are not
good. Come'. I speeded to Tel Hashomer
hospital. A nurse and a social worker waited
for me there. They wanted to tell me that my
son had died. That he came in, dead
already. Finished. Serious brain damage.
They had planned to ask me to donate
"Suddenly she ran to the surgery, came back and said that they drained blood from his brain,
and that she hopes he will survive. We will know within 72 hours. We hurried to get an amulet
from Rabbi Caduri. It helped with the Beitar team, when we almost dropped to a lower league.
On Friday, they called us back to the hospital. They were in shock:
kid just tore the respiration tubes off. He woke up."
20 year old Nati Nissim is lying on a bed, in the fifth floor of the
Beit Levinstein hospital,
draped from head to toe in the black-yellow uniform
of the Beitar football team. "Daddy,"
he says suddenly "Don't forget.
I need to get to the semi finals." Kurdi Bear, with a bristly
chin and red
eyes, freezes for a second, and tries to get his son back into
he says softly, "I've already told you, Beitar has lost."
Nati laughs. "No way! I am going to the match!" he says
and tries to get up. The father
suppresses his frustration, gives up the struggle.
The accident has caused the son
to lose his short-term memory. Just like in the
movie "Momento", he can recall, with
astonishing precision, any Beitar
goal going ten years back or even more, but forgets within
minutes who he is talking
with. "Why am I here?" he asks his parents again and again,
his head with embarrassment when an acquaintance reminds him of a conversation
they had just the day before.
Kurdi sits in the ward and tries to look as optimistic as possible. The doctors are talking
about a lengthy recovery process. They say that there is no telling if and when Nati's
memory will return to normal. The financial situation is not brieither. He and his wife,
Ronit, can hardly buy gas for his battered Subaru that tries to make the journey from the
Castel neighborhood to the hospital. Kurdi wants to build himself a
tent in front of the hospital. For the time being, he sleeps in the car.
"Jenin has strengthened me," he says. "It helped me
forget my troubles. I had hoped it
would be some turning point, until this hit
me. But what happened to Nati taught me
what really is important. I am living
now for my son. The rest is really not important."
The friends from his reserves unit are helping him.
"He stood up when it really counted. He
was there, in the most trying moment", says
Haim Tamam, a soldier serving
with him. "No one has functioned like he has. And I don't
know if any of
us could go through the nightmare he went through
without putting a bullet through
his head. We are all amazed by him."
Yeffet Damti, his bulldozer partner from Jenin, says that one
thing is certain: "On the next mission, I am only going with Kurdi".
Kurdi, for his part, thanks his commanders that
gave him the chance.
For the time being, they are wrapping him with attention and sympathy. They came here,
to the hospital, just to be with him. Just so he won't be lonely. They are talking about
raising funds to help him. When they meet him next to his son's bed, back come the
memories from those 75 hours.
The chats around the son's bed continue till the management of the hospital called and
begged them to stop bragging about destroying Jenin. There are Arab therapists
who might be hurt, and one of the Arab patients has already complained.
GUSH SHALOM COMMENTS:
This is the incredible, self-told Story
Moshe Nissim, a fanatic football fan
a permanent troublemaker, who begged his commanders
in the reserves unit for a
chance to take part in "the action".
By "action" he was referring to the wide scale destruction carried out by the
Israeli army in many Palestinian locations, especially in the Jenin Refugee camp.
He was sent into
Jenin, riding a 60 ton demolition bulldozer - and equipped with 16 years
personal frustration, plenty of whisky and only two hours of training on that armored tool.
"Enough training to drive forwards and make
flat surface", as he himself testifies in the interview.
His story may be extreme, and this man must answer
to many serious questions, but
Moshe Nissim is not much different from thousands
of other frustrated and violent football fans,
who terrorize cities in Europe
after a football match.
But then again, Of course, it is unconceivable, that the British army would send
a drunken and frustrated Manchester fan into Belfast riding a D-9 bulldozer.
Therefore, the really troubling questions must
be directed at the system that sent
him into Jenin on this mission of destruction.
This system is the Israeli army.
1 - What kind of army puts a 60 ton, multi-million dollar demolishing bulldozer
the hands of such a person, who has not operated one before?
2 - How could his rampage
go on, without being stopped by any of the officers, at any rank?
3 - How can such
an army insist it is the "most moral army in the world"?
4 - Does this
interview shed more light on Israel's refusal to have it's actions in Jenin investigated?
5 - What did happen in Jenin?
We hope that after reading this sickening interview, you will find ways of sending these
questions, and others you might have, to the Israeli government through it's ambassadors,
to the Israeli army, who, we are sure, will not tolerate it's fine tools being used in such a brutal
and unlawful manner.
is the army code for the D-9 bulldozers. Kurdi means a person of Kurdish origin.
2 . In Israel, men are recruited at the age of 18
for 3 years of obligatory military service. After being released, at the age of 21, they enter the reserve corps. The reserve
duty usually demands 30 days of service each year, till the age of 45.
3 . In January 2001, a building in Jerusalem collapsed during a wedding
in a hall named Versailles. Some 25 people were killed.
4 . The D-9 actually weighs 48.7 tons, without Armor. The armor brings the weight
closer to 60 tons.
5 . The operator is referring to the day in which 13 Israeli soldiers were killed by Palestinian fighters in an ambush
. Two right-wing movements. Beitar, the youth movement, is more nationalistic. Likud is the major right-wing party.
7 . This is the size,
in meters, of the part of the camp that was totally demolished.