Ever since Hamas was recently elected to rule the Gaza area by the Arabs that exist there, I have been filled with a feeling of dread and dark import. To such an extent that the following story came to me and I felt compelled to write it. This story assumes that Hamas has kept to its charter and is trying to destroy Israel. This is the story of one squad of Israeli soldiers told from a first person perspective. I hope and pray such an event does not happen but I fear it and countless other acts, even more horrific, will occur.
Our squad moved out in two columns, walking the sidewalks while on alert. The sun beat down on us as we sweated in our gear, M-16s held ready. Glanced towards Avi on the other side of the street and noticed him looking at his watch. Avi is our medic and when he starts looking at his watch we know it is almost time to pause and drink water from our canteens. We keep moving down the suspiciously empty streets.
Then it happens, a sound. The patter of running feet slapping pavement and its from behind us. Benny calls out the warning since he is rear cover. "Woman!" The squad freezes in place, takes what cover they can, and starts scanning even more intently wondering if this is the start of an ambush like what other squads have suffered since the Israeli army moved back into Jenin and other towns after the day rockets had flown into Israel, killing civilians, from Gaza.
Benny tries to stop the woman but she runs right by him and his outstretched arm. We are wondering why Benny did not at least knock her down. It is then I understand what she is saying, over and over again she is screaming in Arabic about her baby. And it seems she knows Avi is our medic for her path is taking her towards him. I also see clutched tightly in her arms is a bundle about baby size. Then she trips in the street and her baby goes flying out of her grasp. Avi, meanwhile, has moved towards the woman and has a hand out when this happens, he knows Arabic also.
I am watching this all happen, seeing my friend Avi reaching towards the woman. I see her fall to the ground. Then, as I hear a baby screaming, I start screaming a warning because I see a spoon flying out of the swaddling clothes. "Grenade!" I throw myself to the ground and pray that Avi can get out of the way.
The grenade goes off with its characteristic sound and I hear fragments goes whizzing over my head as I press myself into the hard cement sidewalk. The squad sergeant is next calling us to report. My ears are ringing so I barely hear him as I struggle to get up, pushing up with one hand. I call out that I am okay. Then I am on my knees squatting, M-16 held in both hands as I start to look around nervous of more attacks. My gaze takes me to where Avi was and I wish I had not looked. He lays there on the roadway, blood flowing in a bright red sea from his shredded upper torso and there is no sign of the baby.
I close my eyes for a second and say a silent prayer for Avi while thinking of his parents, his sister Miriam, and younger brother David. I open my eyes and look towards where the woman had fallen. She is not there and I go looking for her. I find the woman attacking a still prostrate Benny with her fists and before I can sprint to help Benny out, Moshe takes action. I see the three round burst strike the woman, making her jerk and twitch but she keeps striking Benny while screaming. So Moshe fires again and this time she crumples in a lifeless heap, her body laying atop a still shocked Benny.
I reach Benny, shove the woman's corpse off of him, and help him get back to his feet. I can see how shocked he is from how wide his eyes are. I have to wonder if he sees the same shock and horror in my eyes. We rally around Avi's body, careful not to step in anything, with the rest of the squad as our sergeant calls in to report what has happened. The streets are silent once again as the sun beats down on us, but we no longer have a medic to tell us when to drink water so a few of us pull canteens out while the others keep watch.