Photo: Flickr/Israel defence Forces
An Israeli defence Forces (IDF) soldier who has served for the last 3 years and will be discharged in January went on Reddit and answered questions about the ongoing Israeli offensive in Gaza.
The soldier, Dima Lurie, said that rockets fired from Gaza gave the Israelis no choice but to strike back. If the conflict escalates, he says the IDF is ready for war.
We’ve pulled out some of the best questions and answers (lightly edited for clarity):
Q: With all the rockets shot back and forth, how many dangerous situations actually occur weekly? How high does the rocket threat rank up in Israeli military priority?
A: The rockets are more a threat to the civilian population than to the Israeli army. They are fired at cities and towns to cause damage and kill as [many] civilians as possible. And while one rocket is not a big threat, imagine 5-10 rocket being fired every day (that’s while there is a so called “truce” or “peace”). That mean the alarms go off, a lot of panic in the streets, people running for shelter. And that continues for years!
One in 5 does damage, one in 3 injures, one in a hundred kills. And in Israel every life lost is front page news.
Q: What is your opinion on Hamas?
A: It is a terrorist organisation, denies the right of Israel to exist and dedicates itself to making the lives of Israelis a nightmare. After it [overthrew] the PLO in Gaza in an armed uprising, it became the government in Gaza and has the power to control all other organisations and military groups.
If it decides to stop its aggressions and acknowledge the fact that Israel is a state that exists, we can go into official negotiations in spite of its former crimes.
Q: What types of propaganda do you find yourself working to reject?
A: Propoganda is everywhere.
Left-winged newspapers over exaggerated the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza, right-winged newspapers are trying to justify every action with self preservation and so on and so on.
Q; What do you think of claims that this conflict was manipulated due to the elections [which will occur on January 22]?
A: I don’t believe it is due to the elections, there is a total understanding between all major parties, both right and left, that this operation had to come. If the PM [Benjamin Netanyahu} started this operation just for the election the Israeli media, which isn’t its [supportive,] would have destroyed him. It is actually more of a risk for him if things go badly.
Q: Do you feel that your country’s military stance is fuelled at all by the fact that they have major western powers (The US chiefly) behind them?
A: I wish it was that simple, unfortunately the answer is no and Israel really tries to avoid War at any cost but our enemies are many and they keep pursuing our destruction.
Q: How do you think the relationship between Egypt and Palestine will change in the coming years?
A: Clearly will get closer in the years to come. Hamas is under the wing of the Muslim Brotherhood right now and Mursi is their true new daddy.
Q: What is your position on the settlements in the West Bank?
A: Israel should stop the construction of new settlements for the negotiations with the [Palestine Liberation organisation], but they should not and cannot be dismantled. I don’t know what you think about when you hear settlements but some of them are cities. 500,000 Israelis live in them out of a population of 7 million.
Q: Assume you could achieve peace tomorrow, what type of relationship would you like to see between Israel and Palestine and on what borders?
A: Borders of 1967 with territory swaps to ensure some near border settlements that cannot be dismantled stay on Israeli land, Jerusalem divided to east and west while the holy part, 1 square km, in UN jurisdiction.
Full peace treaty. Open borders. Love.
Q: How’s morale?
A: The morale is very good. We are kind of used to war every 5-6 years. While this is still just an operation we can’t tell what will happen in the days to come.
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