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IDF soldiers description of experiences in Gaza

This is a posting from an IDF soldier, Matan Barad, who asks {"Have you ever seen  4,000 people running towards you full of hate and yelling “Allah Akhbar”?

Gaza - A place with so much meaning.

Words cannot describe the situations my comrades and I have been through.
The first time we got to the border we couldn’t imagine how the next 4 months would be like.
The first thing my officer told us when we started duty is that “the fence is a metaphor … only where the IDF is, is there a border.”
We couldn’t imagine how right he was.
In the past 4 months, my unit took control over the border, it was at this time the most difficult border in Israel.

Israel Independence Day, “Yom Nakba,” prisoner day, USA opening the Embassy in Jerusalem.

You know what was the hardest part of all this?

It’s not the fact we didn’t take off our shoes the past week nor shower. Not the fact we didn’t talk to our friends and family the past week. It’s not the fact we sleep in average 4 hours a night.

Let’s not talk about when was the last time we went home.

It was the fact we did all of this, and at the end of the week, we saw in the media only criticism, on how we kill Innocent Palestinians.

Well, I wanna put things straight. (Since I’m actually here)

Have you ever seen 4,000 people running towards you full of hate and yelling “Allah Akhbar”? Have you ever seen 4,000 people men woman and kids full of hate and anger?

Can a knife kill? A Molotov cocktail? Fire kites? Bomb? AK-47?

Well, that’s a daily threat on the border.

My friends and I felt all the things above.

We SAW 4,000 people run to the fence, WE have been shot at, WE saw a bomb explode that was meant for us, WE saw people run towards us with knives and axes meant to KILL us.

The feeling that goes through your body after all this is indescribable. We have the right to defend our people, family, friends. We know if they pass us they are going for them.

Our last resort is to shoot, we first send papers describing we don’t want this, we send smelly bombs to keep them away. No country in the world does that.
After all this, they keep coming … we shoot.

Every shot you take needs to get approved by 2 different people. Every shot that you take is written down and checked by officials.

The first rule as a sniper is to never close your eyes so you won’t miss a thing.
Sometimes, you see things you will never forget.

All in all, I can assure you at the end of this tour we as a unit don’t regret a shot we took. Every shot we took was to protect the people we love.

From an IDF tank soldier at the Gaza border yesterday

Shabbat wasn't great. I spent almost all of it in my tank, sleeping on the border of Gaza. Dinner came at midnight last night and today food never showed up (but we had leftovers). It's been unbearably hot and incredibly boring.

My girlfriend is at her apartment, probably enjoying the beach, my best friend is in Jerusalem having the time of his life, and almost all of my friends were out for the weekend, some marching to share their pride. 

At the same time, many Jews across America are calling me an occupier and a murderer.

Through all of this my officer has been reminding us all how important our jobs are here.

If we weren't here eating shit on Shabbat, there wouldn't be an apartment for my girlfriend to go home to. There wouldn't be a Jerusalem for my friend to enjoy himself in. There wouldn't be a NYC parade to share our pride. There wouldn't be a place for us to call home.

We, the soldiers of Israel, have given up living at home as well as a lot of our freedoms so others can have theirs. We are sleeping in tanks and on the dirt 10 meters from Gaza so no one else has to. We are sitting here in this summer heat so no Jew has to fight for their right to live. We are here so you don't have to be.

To the all the Jews that disagree with the actions of the IDF, you're welcome for keeping you safe on Birthright. You're welcome for protecting your friends on gap years, on summer vacations, on family trips, and every other reason to enjoy this beautiful country we all call home. You're welcome for ensuring we have a home.

This post first appeared on Haifa Diary, please read the originial post: here

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IDF soldiers description of experiences in Gaza


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