a former Israeli soldier denounces the response in Gaza

After having himself been sent to fight in Gaza in 2014, Benzi Sanders today condemns the escalation of violence carried out by the Israeli government in retaliation for the Hamas attack of October 7.

It is a rare voice within Israeli society. Franceinfo met a former soldier, fighting in Gaza in 2014, today very critical of the action of his army. A small blue yarmulke knitted on his head, Benzi Sanders is not upset by the current operation in the Palestinian enclave. “Do we have a vision? Isn’t this just going to further strengthen Hamas, like when I was in Gaza in 2014? The only way to beat terrorism, asserts the former soldier, it is to create hope in a future where Israelis and Palestinians alike will have rights and be free. There we can live side by side.”

Angry at the Israeli government

Born in New York into an Orthodox Jewish family, Benzi Sanders moved to Israel when he came of age and became an Israeli citizen. He then carried out his compulsory military service when the 2014 war broke out. The soldier enters Gaza with his special forces unit, for an operation very similar to today. “The area had just been bombed, the sky was completely illuminated. We enter Beit Hanoun, the army must locate the Hamas tunnels there. We check every house, we are told that the civilians have all been evacuated, but this wasn’t entirely true.”

“We found the body of an old Palestinian lady, who had been killed by shrapnel. Her face was disfigured. She was lying in the sand.”

Benzi Sanders, former Israeli soldier

at franceinfo

Benzi also discovers an entire family: eight people in hiding. His unit holds them, offers them water and food. But when the soldiers leave, the Israeli air force bombs the house and the whole family dies. “They killed eight innocent peoplesaid the angry former soldier. I began to realize that my government was not trying to prevent this from happening again, but on the contrary, it was determined to keep Hamas in power!”

His military service ended in 2015, Benzi is committed to human rights, but sees his country sinking into this violent spiral in Gaza, until October 7 and what he describes as “the horrible massacre” committed by Hamas. “I am furious with my government for leading us to this, for not changing our approach, he laments. I really think Israel has the right to defend itself, but I believe the only way to do that is through a political solution.”

A former Israeli soldier denounces the response in Gaza – Agathe Mahuet and Jérémy Tuil

source site-24