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The Israeli-Palestinian conflict

The Israeli point of view

The military service is compulsory for everybody over 18 in Israel. Men do 3 years and women 2 years. Fighting units are mostly composed of men while women are usually incorporated into support units (the air force being an exception). After this people are in the reserve where they spend about 3 weeks every year. Thus the military is part of life here, everything else revolving around it (work deadlines and university exams are shifted around to accommodate for military service. In Switzerland it's the other way round). Basically people in uniform with M16's are everywhere. This shocks some first time visitors but after a while you get used to it.
I talked to a few people about the ongoing war. I especially had a long discussion during the 5 hours bus ride from Eilat to Tel Aviv with an IDF lieutenant who was stationed in Gaza.
First of all Israelis want to live in peace. This is definitely true for the majority of all people, no one likes to live in a state of war for over 60 years. They are also ready to give land to the Palestinians so they can have their own country. However they will never allow the displaced Palestinians back to Israel, since they would gain Israeli citizenship and -Israel being a democracy- just vote the Jews out of the country.
The fight against the Palestinians in Gaza is very confusing and frustrating for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) members. It's a very strange situation, there are one or two million people blocked in Gaza. The Israelis can't really let them all die in there, so they provide them with food, infrastructure and electricity. At the same time the IDF is also fighting against them. So basically they are feeding the people they fight against. I never heard an Israeli talking about fighting against Palestinians, by the way, they always talk about terrorists.
The Lieutenant in the bus told me about a big operation they had against Katyusha launching sites. It included some divisions and the air force and it was a success, they destroyed the sites. On the next day however they were targeted by Katyushas being launched from a site a few kilometers away from the old one, so basically the whole thing was useless.
The soldiers are also disconcerted by the use of children and the habit of hiding behind civilians by Palestinian fighters. The soldiers don't know how to react when confronted by 10 year olds that carry weapons. The terrorists purposely tell the children to gather around Katyusha launching sites and give them weapons to carry. Then, when one of the children gets killed by a strike, the whole media circus starts with crying relatives and so on. But it's the Palestinians themselves that set the children in dangerous places.
The young Israelis especially grow tired of this never ending fight and more and more refuse to do their military service in the Palestinian Territories. Some also decide to leave the country altogether and move the Europe or the US.

Posted by 5fingerfab 05:54 Archived in Israel Tagged round_the_world

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by NicoleBru

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