Ibrahim, USA

June 28, 2011

I am a media student in New York. I am originally from Yemen.

I would like to know how does it feel when your task is to kick a family out of their homes? How do you feel when you see the kids and women crying and screaming?

Ibrahim,

I like the way you formulated your question, because you weren’t specific. You could have asked “how does it feel when your task is to kick a Palestinian family out of their home”, or “how does it feel when your task is to kick an Israeli family out of their home”. But you didn’t, you asked how it feels to kick a family, any family, out of their home.

The reason I like your question, is because it feels the same to force someone, anyone, out of his or hers home. It makes you feel sick to your stomach. It is not fun to force someone to do anything, it’s as simple as that. Nobody wants to be given such a task.

As you must know,  during the summer of 2005 the IDF forced about 9,000 Jewish citizens to evacuate their homes in the Gaza strip and in the northern part of the West Bank.  The evacuation was part of a plan led by prime minister Ariel Sharon, in order to separate Israel from the Palestinians and hopefully calming the Gaza Strip. The plan didn’t work, and the Gaza strip remained a very violent place.

I didn’t take part in the 2005 evacuation, but I did participate in operations during which my unit took over Palestinians homes for a period of a few hours or even a few weeks (as far as I remember, we never kicked any family out, but we did force them to stay in only one of the rooms or floors in the house). As I said, when I did that  it made me feel sick to my stomach, just like the soldiers who participated in the 2005 evacuation of Israeli families felt.

The purpose and the consequence of both actions – evacuating Palestinians and Israelis –  were the same:  in both cases we thought what we were doing would eventually benefit both sides, and in both cases we failed.

Itay

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