From the eyes of a paratrooper

Before you choose a side in any conflict you should learn about it.

IDF paratroopers throw their berets in the air in happiness. (photo credit: REUTERS)
IDF paratroopers throw their berets in the air in happiness.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
As an IDF Paratrooper who fought in Israel’s previous operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, there are a few things I’d like to say about the current operation, and the general idea of boycotting Israel because of it.
Before you choose a side in any conflict you should learn about it. Even if you think that you’re already well informed, that doesn’t mean that you are – especially if your knowledge is solely based on what the media chooses to show you.
Israel left the Gaza Strip nine years ago and gave it to the Palestinians – there have been no Jews living there since that time. There was almost a civil war in Israel when it happened, but peace meant so much to us that we were willing to evacuate the 40,000 Israelis living in Gaza. This place was then turned into one of the biggest nests of terrorism in the world.
Hamas is a terrorist organization that kills its own people and uses them as human shields. If you decide to boycott not Hamas, but Israel, you cannot claim that you aren’t anti-Semitic. Hatred for the Jewish people has always had its excuses and justifications.
The most common have been that Jews drink Christian blood or seek to rule the world. The accusations of genocide being leveled against Israel today are just a new variation.
Ask yourself this: If your home had been under attack for over nine years, if missiles were being fired at your city and tunnels built beneath your roads and were being used to kill and kidnap civilians, what would your country’s response be? The US went all the way to Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11, and many innocent civilians died in those countries as a result. I don’t blame the US for this, because I know that unfortunately civilians die when countries go to war, especially with terrorists.
Every time the Israeli army bombs a target in the Gaza Strip (and it does this only when rockets are fired from that specific place), it calls the house and tells everyone to evacuate. It then drops a rocket on the roof that only shakes the house, in order to make sure that everyone leaves. IDF soldiers know these are houses that people live in, but also that they are being used to kill Israeli civilians. They also know that in some cases the civilians living in them are forced by Hamas to stay inside despite Israeli warnings, and that these civilians will very likely die as a result. But they don’t have a way to avoid this horrible situation. Terrorist organizations like Hamas are expert liars and media manipulators.
They want “their people” to die; it’s essential to their propaganda efforts.
What would you do? The tunnels and missiles Hamas uses are being built by “humanitarian” supplies that were sent to them by the UN.
Instead of building houses, schools and hospitals many of these resources are used to kill Israeli civilians. The UN does not say a word about this.
The UN itself has built plenty of schools in Gaza. During the current operation, Hamas rockets were fired from and found inside of three of these schools. When the UN discovered these rockets, it gave them back to Hamas, knowing they would be used to attempt to murder Israeli civilians.
Another UN school was booby trapped, and yet another had a tunnel under it leading straight into Israel.
A hospital in Gaza was used to fire rockets into Israel, with Hamas leaders hiding on the ground floor.
So please stop comparing the number of people who have been killed in Gaza to the number of people who have been killed in Israel. We are not obligated to let our people die to convince you.
Hamas hides behind civilians and uses them as human shields, and boasts openly about “admiring death more than life,” while we defend our people with our own lives.
We have built bomb shelters and missile-defense systems like the Iron Dome in order to keep our citizens safe because we value life, not death.
Finally, this is not a war against Muslims. It’s a war against terrorists, of the kind that have already killed your people in London, New York City and elsewhere around the world, and who will do so again. We feel the pain of the Palestinian civilians. We don’t want them to die and our hearts go out to their families.
The idea that we would just suddenly decide to kill innocent civilians is not connected to reality.
It is my hope that one day these things will be obvious.
The author is a IDF paratrooper.