The Israeli army is one of the most demonized entities in the world. With the false information fed to the gullible Western media by Palestinian terrorists and baby-killers we have reached the point where the right of Israel to defend herself is widely questioned.
That’s why I found admirable the initiative of The Speakers Action Group to let somebody first-hand experience cover the issue. The speaker they had on April 7 was Colonel Bentzi Gruber, a veteran of IDF, who served as a commander for over 30 years. Now he runs a computer company in Israel.
He started by stating the propaganda, which comes from the left – that there are a lot of lies about IDF, which are presented as units for killing babies in Gaza.
To make the truth easier to understand, he continued with laying out the framework, which determines the many decisions that must be made in field by the IDF. The time to make a decision is very short, in most cases you have only 8 seconds. Then he showed a video to support his point.
In the first few frames we see a suicide bomber in a jeep near a Gaza crossing point. At that moment we don’t know if he is a bomber, he is a smiling, happy looking fellow, but the experienced members of the military know what is going to happen. He is coming from Gaza and his purpose is to cross the border toward the road on the other side, where a school bus is about to pass by as scheduled. That road is very close to Gaza, only 200 m away. The bomber’s goal is to hit the bus and blow it up with the explosives loaded in his jeep.
The border is well protected by soldiers who are supposed to shoot. Some of them are observing the area from a tall tower-like structure. In order to cross, a car should go through something like a ditch, thus slowing down its speed. As the school bus approaches the crossing area, terrorists in the Gaza village start to shoot at the soldiers in order to distract them and let the jeep cross. They are partially successful: during the shooting the jeep manages to cross the border. But it’s too late, the bus is already about two miles away, so the driver has to change plans – he decides to hit a target in the nearby Israeli village. Anything is good – store, school, whatever…
The army alerts the village that a possible terrorist is headed in their direction. A villager, who is a lawyer by profession, decides to confront the terrorist. He gets on his Hummer, driving toward the terrorist’s jeep. We see both cars getting closer to each other. The Arab figures out that he is not going to reach his goal, so he decides to make the “best” of the situation – he hits the Hummer and blows up his load. In the explosion, both cars are destroyed. The terrorist is blown to pieces, but the lawyer miraculously survives. However, that local hero loses his legs.
This is not a thriller, this is the everyday life in Israel, courtesy of the Palestinian terrorists.
That incident brings Col. Gruber to his major point – the code of ethics that the Israeli Defense Forces have to follow in their everyday work. There are several important requirements in that code:
- Necessity – force should be used solely for the purposes of accomplishing the objective.
- Distinction – don’t harm the innocent.
- Proportionality – collateral damage must be considered in proportion to the threat.
The decisions are tough – the colonel shows another video shot from a drone. A chopper is following a truck loaded with explosives. It fires a rocket at it, but by the time the rocket hits, the truck enters a building. The soldiers don’t know who is in the building, but they can’t take the rocket back. It hits the truck and the building causing a massive explosion of stored explosives.
The truth is that the IDF would always try to avoid collateral damage, not for the media, but for the sake of ethics. The media would always lie and misrepresent the battle field reality. They always try to present the Israeli army as a rabble of trigger-happy monsters, who kill children for pleasure.
It is common occurrence that the Palestinians would always try to make it more difficult to avoid collateral damage. After all, that helps their propaganda. They would remove weapons from wounded or killed terrorists in order to present them as innocent victims (he shows an unedited Hamas video of that). Whenever the terrorists fire missiles, they do it from a crowded street. The Colonel shows a video of such a terrorist. After he shoots, he runs, but before that grabs one of the kids standing nearby and drags him. The Israeli snipers, who see him, are reluctant to shoot because they may hit the kid. As soon as the terrorist is safe, he drops the kid.
Another trick used by Hamas involves UN ambulances. After they took over Gaza, they kicked out most of the UN personnel (including 7,000 teachers) and confiscated over 600 ambulances. They still have all the UN signs painted on them, including the UN flags. Now they use them to block streets when the Israeli tanks are advancing. We see in a video how an ambulance is left in the middle of the street as a shield. Another UN ambulance stops and 7 armed terrorists jump in it to be transported to another area.
Just as important military issue are the underground tunnels in Gaza. Some of them are very large, jeeps and trucks can be driven in them. There are over 800 tunnels and most of them are controlled by four families in Rafah. That’s a big business, which is licensed by Hamas – the going rate for such license is $10,000. That’s how the rockets are supplied to Gaza – in 2007 and 2008 nearly 3,000 rockets per year were fired from Gaza. How long would’ve the USA waited before retaliating if someone was shooting from Ontario with such intensity? Yet Israel was condemned for defending herself.
The operation in Gaza had as one of its goals the destruction of those tunnels. About 800 houses, which served as entrances to those tunnels had to be destroyed. True to its principles, the IDF warned each and every owner to get out – that was done through leaflets thrown from the air, phone calls, even text messages.
The tunnels not only connect Egypt and Gaza, but are also used to move freely terrorists within Gaza itself. It was very common, when such a house was hit to see a huge explosion, always caused by the ammunition and explosives stored underneath.
Despite the warnings, the Palestinians tried to sabotage the operation – for example, they booby trapped those houses, leaving mines and bombs connected with wires. In other cases, many people got on top of such houses, hoping that this would prevent the attack. In that situation, the army shot smaller rockets from helicopters to hit the house’s corners, which scared those people away.
It was common to install the rocket launching devices in mosques. One such mosque was destroyed and the case was reported as a “war crime” in the Goldstone Report. The Israeli military provided Goldstone with a video showing how rockets were fired from that mosque, but he chose to ignore the truth.
Another lie was the accusation that Israel used phosphorus in Gaza. What Goldstone presented as phosphorus bombs were just smoke bombs to hide the visibility of the soldiers. Smoke bombs were harmless. Again, the simple truth was ignored – when phosphorus hits a person, it results in severe burns and injuries. The accusers of Israel couldn’t provide a single example of such injuries.
All this shows what an uphill battle for the public opinion Israel has to fight. The Palestinians are in control of the perceptions of the public. Col. Gruber saw this first-hand during his presentations at US campuses. Everything that could damage the romantic image of the Palestinian terrorism was met with hostility. The leftists in USA and Israel simply don’t want to face the truth.
Nevertheless, IDF work toward spreading the truth. They work with charities, help disadvantaged children and make everything possible to nurture the humanism in their soldiers. It’s a difficult task, but nothing comes easy in our violent world…