Khaled, Kuwait

February 4, 2012

I hold a finance degree and I currently work for Kuwait Foreign investment Bureau. Politically I’m non-conformist- I have my own ideas; religiously- I will defer arguing about my convictions- to theist- till after death! I am an atheist. I am an avid reader and in love with all kinds of Art. Finally, i do take Human Rights issues seriously

You have participated in what i view as a nasty operation Cast lead; what do you feel about the “collateral” damage it caused? 400+ palestinian kids dead!?

Was really necessary to use this overwhelming force against defenseless people?

Were there other options than going all in the Gaza strip i.e. taking the rocket launcher site out via commandos operations or Intelligence operatives? do you fell regrets?

Khaled,

While even one child casualty is too many in my opinion, it’s important for me to note that the number of casualties varies greatly depending on whom you ask. While the Palestinian Ministry of Health places the number at 430, the IDF number is 89. Who you trust for the correct information is entirely up to you, but personally I believe the number most likely to be somewhere between the two. Though the exact number isn’t neccesarily important, it is important to read between the lines and to understand that much of the information you read may or may not be accurate…Your question specifically asks me how I feel about collateral damage and child casualties. My honest answer, is that it makes me sick to my stomach. My entire family are educators and I myself work a lot with kids. The thought of any of them being killed is absolutely appaling to me. However, these deaths are not the result of evil angry Israeli soldiers going on a random rampage through Gaza. These killings are rather the result of an defensive operation against sick terrorists who use the unforgivable tactic of fighting behind women and children. What is the IDF to do? Obviously political sanctions and streams of dialogue are preferable to war, but where is the line? If you saw your own family being forced to race for a bomb shelter time and time again, how long would you stay your hand? The situation Israel is put in, is extremely difficult and emotionally draining. I think, I hope that I am a moral, decent person who tries to do good things to improve this world as often as I can. But I, and other young Israeli soldiers are put into these moral dilemas of trying to determine the best, most moral way to defend ourselves and our families. The child mortality that occured during operation cast lead is clearly regretable and very disturbing. But through it all, I must insist that the microscope be placed on the on the instigators rather than the reactors. I must also ask that the world understand how much agonizing debate occurs over every operation and every shot fired by the IDF. The ‘defenseless’ people, are placed in front of the ones with weapons…what kind of person can use this tactic?

 

As for alternative options, I can really only say that I honestly don’t know. I was a simple foot soldier given orders. I don’t see the intelligence reports and information that the high brass look at. That said, I have a lot of confidence that the high brass does everything in their power to make the best decision (I write ‘best’ rather than ‘right’, because is their a ‘right’ answer in all of this? Usually not…). These men are moral thoughtful people forced to make extremely difficult decisions that literally mean life or death,  for the Palestinian people (both innocent and guilty) and also for the Israeli people (citizens and soldiers alike). Though I’ve never been to one of these meetings, I can promise you that the answers are never clear and that the decisions are never made easily or lightly. I truly believe that the IDF does its best to defend Israel in the most moral and effective way possible (which sometimes may result in terrible and unfortunate facts such as collateral damage).

Personally I can truly say that I have no regrets whatsoever. I believe in Israel’s right to exist and accordingly for her right to defend herself against those that would threaten her. I never saw with own eyes or personally participated in what are being labeled ‘war crimes.’ I never shot at or threatened innocent civilians and can even say that my unit often operated in a way that meant minimal risks of killing or injuring innocents, while raising the danger to ourselves. And for that, I am proud of having served in the IDF which I consider to be the most moral army in the world.

Thank you for your questions,

Ami

Ami, 

I appreciate your response. thank you. i still wonder though how is it that you put your self and your unit at risk to protect civilians? i know that you are a solder and that you have nothing to do with political decisions but i also know that there are solders who refused to serve during cast lead. just to be on the record i loath terrorism and i am sick of hamas. period. that however does not justify in my humble opinion the blockade of 1.5 million people let alone attacking them with brutal force Israel did during that accursed operation. i am from kuwait and i know first hand what a brutal occupation looks like- the Iraqi acceptation of my country is one where solders raped and looted at will. Israel is a democracy though and people from all over the world do hold the IDF to a much higher standards.  thank you agin for answering my questions. i really do want to hear how did you put your self and your unit at risk to protect civilians as you have mentioned in your e-mail response- that could change my opinion about the IDF. peace.

Khaled,

First of all I’d like to note that the Cast Lead Operation was an operation and not an occupation. We went in, did as much damage as we could to Hamas’ fighting capabilities and then we left. I with my own eyes did not see any rape or looting. In fact, before we left, we were made to empty our kitbags to make sure no looting had been done. The kitbags were turned inside out and nothing besides army equipment was found. To expound, taking food we found while in Gaza was not allowed and I personally saw that this order was followed. While there was a lot of damage done to civilian property and it was a traumatic experience for all involved, I think it is really important to clarify these differences.

In terms of accepting added dangers to ourselves I will tell you the following. In an operation like Cast Lead, flyers are dropped from planes so civilians know that the army is coming. This gives them the opportunity to leave their homes which effectively means that anyone who stays behind is meant to be seen as an combatant. Bearing this in mind, if someone pops out of a house you are checking for terrorists – you don’t stop to ask questions usually because they are supposed to be a terrorist. However, my unit did stop to ask questions. There was at least a few instances when houses we went into had civilians that did not get hurt because we didn’t pull the triggers right away. This split second we used to double check that they were not terrorists could literally have meant life or death for ourselves.

Finally in regards to your thoughts on dissenting soldiers who refused orders. I am highly against this. In the army, the ONLY orders that are acceptable to refuse are those which involve causing physical harm to innocent people. Any soldier who refuses such an order would be exonerated after the fact. Every other order must be carried out. Not only do political opinions not matter in the army, but no other opinion matters. This may seem like a thoughtless remark but it is actually the opposite. Consider this, what if every soldier made his own decisions whenever he pleased? As you can imagine, it would be complete chaos and dangerous. One of the things that saves soldiers lives and makes a unit effective is its ability to follow commands and act automatically. As I said before, an order to harm innocents not only can, but legally must be refused. All other orders, must be followed. The soldiers who refused orders weren’t brave or ideological heroes – they were harmful to the army. If they didn’t like what they were made to do, they are well within their right after the army to go to the media, campaign againt the army, in short to do whatever they see fit to counter the army’s decisions. However, while they are in the army, they have an obligation to fulfill commands. To each their own I suppose, but this is my honest opinion.

Thank you for your questions, I hope my answers were informational!

Ami

Thank you!

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