Israeli soldier discusses killing Palestinian children on Ukrainian game show

Israel/Palestine
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Screen shot of Elena Zakusilo on the Ukrainian game show "Lie Detecter," 4 November 2013.

Screen shot of Elena Zakusilo on the Ukrainian game show “Lie Detecter,” 4 November 2013.

A few days ago Abir Kopty found a November episode of a Ukrainian game show where an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldier nonchalantly discussed killing Palestinian children. Dual Ukrainian and Israeli citizen Elena Zakusilo explains, while sitting in an oversized chair with her feet dangling above the ground, that her enemies in the combat field were toddlers. “Barely walking” toddlers:

[We] had to fire, had to kill, because it was either they [get] us, or we – them. I can’t say I’m proud of that. It’s scary, especially when children run with Molotov cocktails, and they send children, to turn the attention to them, little kid, barely walking, 3-4 years old.

While on “Lie Detectors,” Zakusilo sat across from her mother and two sisters answering questions that according to the show’s format, are supposed to be embarrassing. She recounts training IDF attack dogs affixed with cameras and microphones that are sent into Palestinian villages as spies. “You give a command, it runs into an Arab village, runs around there like a normal dog, and films what the terrorists are doing.” And when the show asks her if she has ever killed anyone, her family’s take on it is blasé. “Not someone, apparently those she was fighting with,” said the soldier’s mother. Then Zakusilo continues, describing firing at Palestinian, but is careful to note, “it’s normal for them” to die young, because, she affirms, the children are taught to do so by their parents.

Here’s the corresponding excerpt from the video:

Q: [2:54] Did you kill people?

A: Yes.

DETECTOR: TRUE

The first time it was a big stress, I remember like now, I threw away the gun and said I won’t go anywhere. {Eventually} I did go.

Q to mother: did you know that your daughter killed people?

A of the mother: I know that she served during the war with Lebanon, and she was in the military, and of course, how can you be in the military without {killing}…

Host: someone…

A of the mother: not someone, apparently those she was fighting with, I think. Let her explain, whom she killed.

Q: The day when Yasef {Yaser} Arafat died, there was a massive riot by Arabs. They were shooting at the unit, I saw that there were hits, I saw ..head.. . They always told us to shoot in the air, at the feet, and […] the soldiers understand that if you keep shooting like that, you will be gone. So we had to fire, had to kill, because it was either they [get] us, or we – them. I can’t say I’m proud of that. It’s scary, especially when children run with Molotov cocktails, and they send children, to turn the attention to them, little kid, barely walking, 3-4 years old…

Q: But children are too…

A: Explode…? {Completes his sentence} They, suicide bombers explode in the trains… They, the terrorists, have a known tariff, an adult terrorist worth 30,000 dollars, a child – 50,000. The Hamasniks paid to the Arabs. And mothers say – so what, we can give birth to five more.

Q: Wait, so the mother sent her child…?

A: For them it’s normal, for them it’s normal, yes.

It seems the intention was for viewers to find her responses funny or appealingly personal. But everything Zakusilo details sounds either illegal or a war crime, and it is doubly horrifying because as a viewer we understand someone thought this would be good television. Yet there’s no war glory here, only a young woman who is a career soldier because she said she doesn’t want to live with her parents—or in the Ukraine. And so she will kill for the IDF, she will kill children for the IDF. Good TV, right?

Read the full transcript posted by Kopty here.

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