Continued interview of Israeli soldiers by Tamar Boussi of Jerusalem
EVERY SOLDIER I HAVE TALKED TO HAS USED THE WORD "SCARED" USUALLY MORE THEN ONCE, WHAT WERE THE MOST FRIGHTENING THINGS FOR You?
First every house or building is wired, they wire their own houses, the schools that their own children attend, hospitals, the mindset is so alien to us that we have to keep reminding ourselves of the danger in every step we take. They would rather have a family of 8 blown up in their own house than 8 different Arabs blown up in different places and if it is a school full of kids all the better, as they understand that the publicity is good for them. They think that if they kill Israelis that’s good and if a lot of Arabs die that is even better, as it is blamed on the Israelis and that is the publicity they want, women and children are the best publicity.
The second most frightening thing, maybe even the first is the tunnels. Gaza is a mass of tunnels everywhere, some of these tunnels are big enough to walk in standing up with electricity and other necessities. They use them for everything; not just to smuggle other terrorists, money, weapons and what ever else they want. They run from house to house as well, the top leaders are in comfortable tunnels under the hospital, they know we won’t bomb the hospital so they are safe. The other use of tunnels is a major goal they have of kidnapping soldiers, THAT is very scary. If you are walking anywhere near any kind of cover, a hand might reach out and grab a leg and try to drag you into the bush or a camouflaged tunnel. We sleep on the floor of vacant houses, which we have searched, while we sleep a floor tile will move and a hand reach out to grab an arm, a leg or whatever and drag you under the house into a tunnel. Thank G-d they did not succeed, only because we learned from past incidents.
Getting into their heads is hard and frightening. They don’t mind how many of them die, while for us one soldier is too many. Every life is precious, even theirs—what can anyone do?
WHAT DO YOU FEEL HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED? We will have failed if we leave without Gilad Shalit. No way we can do that! We don’t want to go home until we are finished. This ceasefire was political, not practical. My hope is when their leaders stick their heads out of the tunnels they are hiding in. They will be so shocked by what they see, they will not want to attack Israel again. They haven’t seen the devastation. Everywhere destroyed grey concrete buildings surrounded by rubble covered with a grey-black smoke.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE PEOPLE OF GAZA FEEL NOW THAT THERE IS QUIET:
Quiet is the right word because it is not over –the people really do hate us, they don’t know anything good about us, only that they are suffering, even though some of them know Hamas is the problem, most don’t think that way. I would say 99% they hate us. Hamas will get billions from the international community and most of it will go to rearm themselves and to continue to educate their children, not be equipped to make a life for themselves but to hate us. Their cynical use of their children is the long run problem.
Resource: Interview by Tamar Boussi of Israeli soldiers who fought in Gaza