Seth Freedman in The Guardian:
When I first moved to this country, I was prepared to play my part by enlisting in the IDF and serving in the West Bank. While there, I saw for myself the effect my mere uniformed presence had on the Palestinians I encountered on a daily basis. Every interaction took place with me holding all the cards – it was me with the loaded gun in my hands; it was me barking instructions to “stop or I’ll shoot”, “lift up your shirt”, “don’t come another step closer”; it was me playing with my quarry as though they were puppets on the end of short, taut strings.
However, I still believed that we “did what we had to do”, since it was a case of us or them, and we could never ease up in our actions for fear that the next Palestinian we encountered was the one with a bomb strapped to his chest. And so it continued, bursting into buildings to round up the residents and lock them in their own basement, so that we could take over the house and grab a few hours’ sleep in the middle of a mission – and all perfectly acceptable in the context of war.
But that was when I saw the wide, silent eyes of the families’ children as we screamed at their father – their hero, their protector – and wrested from him the reins of power inside his own house. And that’s when it started to dawn on me just what kind of effect our actions were having on the next generation, who were guaranteed to end up hating us when all they saw was us herding them like cattle and imposing our will on them through the sights of our guns.