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Old 11-29-2003, 06:59 PM   #1
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What war does to us

I found this to be a really interesting article about Israeli soldiers. It's their words, both right and left are expressed and most of all, it's human. It's quite long, and the second part is really touching. You can find it here.

In all the argument surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we've rarely heard the voices of the conscripts, many of them teenagers, who make up the occupying army. Linda Grant spends five days with an IDF paratroop company, hearing their defiance and their misgivings
One of the conscripts talks about life after the army:

The next time I saw Udi, he was standing on a windy street corner in Tel Aviv, a frail-looking boy in a large sweater. "I look different without the helmet?" he said. Like two separate people, I replied. "Well, this is the real me." We walked to a cafe and I asked him about the Udi who joined the army and the Udi who had just left. "When you are 17 and they start to classify you for what kind of army service you will do, most of us are still children, you don't totally understand what the army is until you get there," he said. "Soldiers in basic training want to fight and kill, they don't understand it will be a trauma for life. No extreme change has occurred in me but that is because there are two kinds of soldier, the kind who had a very close friend who was killed in front of them, or they killed at close range themselves, and the kind who did not. I'm glad to say I'm in the second group, which makes me the minority. In the last year of the army, I had a very confusing time, I started to question why am I guarding this settlement, why am I not letting this 60-year-old Palestinian through, and I think it made me more mature and aware of who I am and who is my neighbour. It would be very comfortable for Israel if the Palestinians were not here and the same for them if we were not here, but everyone knows now there are going to be two nations."
And he talks about the human shields too:

On the base, various soldiers had rolled their eyes when I mentioned the ISM, international volunteers who stand between the civilian community and the army, but I thought Udi might feel that, in another life, he could have been one of them. In fact, he said, in his three years' military service, the only time he lost his temper was with an ISMer. "The general idea sounds very lovely, all kinds of people with good intentions hear about people who have a miserable life and they go and help them - maybe if I hadn't been in the army I would stop there, but I have dealt with them, they are very political and they intentionally disturb our work and make things more dangerous for everyone, for us soldiers and for themselves. They hate us. With all the beauty that's inside them, they hate. I had a chance to talk to several of them, I tried to understand. I define myself on the left, I know from bitter experience that it doesn't help to destroy a neighbourhood in revenge for a bomb in Israel, but there was one lady from San Francisco I must confess I said very harsh things to. Sometimes the beauty of the soul can make you sick."

Very interesting, and very honest, I thought.

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Old 11-29-2003, 07:59 PM   #2
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[Q]"Jenin was the most difficult of all. There is no reason I can tell you why they were more stubborn but they fought bravely and they gave us a good fight. As a human being, I was making the difference between the terrorists and the civilians, I don't see myself as a killer of women and children and they took advantage of that and tried to use civilians as human shields. They put bombs all over the camp, in the trees, doorways. You could see a Palestinian family surrounded by bombs. There was some strong fighting there and I guess some civilians were hit, I can't tell you by who. I know that in the eyes of Palestinians, we are the occupiers and if the army was sitting in my home in Yavneh, I would feel I was occupied. But suicide bombers I can't understand, it's unbelievable, after three years I still can't understand it, though I know the reasons, and they are what my company is here to stop. At the end of the day, there are people who want to kill my family and to protect them I have to check the bags of those people and sometimes kill them." [/Q]

I found this part to be very interesting as well.

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Old 11-29-2003, 08:01 PM   #3
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This is a very interesting article....one I will read a few times. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 11-30-2003, 08:06 AM   #4
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I found this Udi's words very honest, you could almost see his inner searching as he spoke. Its so horrid that my generation has created such conditions for future generations to solve. I was saddened that Udi is my eldest son's age. While my son is in his first year of university preparing for exams and making holiday plans with his family, his girlfriend, etc, doing regular things like going to movies or out for pizza etc, Udi has already seen far too much of life's ugliness, talks of having to risk his life checking for bombs. Udi is so young and yet already so old.
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