Preparing to fight

I’ve been told that every house in Rafah has weapons (a hand grenade, a gun) so families are prepared to defend themselves. This may be pure bravado or wishful thinking, but it might be true.

Maybe Israeli military intelligence knows about this preparation and that’s why the IDF decided not to engage in a battle on the ground in November 2012. Who knows?

That leads me to think — “a hand grenade or a gun are poor defenses to F-16s and drones launching an assault by air.” How would the dynamics in the Middle East change if Palestinians had access to the 21st century weaponry that the US provides Israel?

The New York Times reported on Hamas training the next generation of fighters in Gaza. Jan. 14, 2014, Training Fighters of Future Across Gaza, by Fares Akram.

RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Dozens of high school students scrambled among the sand dunes here in recent days, learning how to shoot AK-47 rifles, crawl under barbed wire and jump over burning tires. Their bearded commanders barked at those who were too slow in hoisting iron bars overhead or those who hesitated around the thick flames.

The six-day program, Futuwwa, enrolled about 13,000 boys at nearly a dozen sites across the Gaza Strip over the past week, with trainers from the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. It was the first time the program had taken place during a school break, and it grew out of an elective that has been offered in Gaza’s high schools since 2012 that consists mainly of lectures about weapons, street-fighting techniques, fitness and Israel’s recruitment of spies.

I know many Americans will read this and think it confirms that Israel is legitimately fighting against terrorists on its borders. But think about it.


Israeli soldiers (why not call them “terrorists” too?) routinely do exercise drills with their weapons. Israeli high school students know they have mandatory military service waiting for them when they graduate. Both sides are brainwashing the next generation to hate the other.

Why should Palestinian students be condemned for engaging in the same kind of preparations?

Palestinian freedom fighter

Palestinian freedom fighter

As a mother and grandmother, I would prefer that neither side send their children off to fight, but I won’t be a hypocrite. If the IDF is going to continue to brutally occupy the Palestinians, then the Palestinians must be able to defend themselves.

Only when the rules of engagement have been changed, only when the occupation ends, will mothers have hope for their children on both sides.

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Filed under Gaza, Hamas, Israel, Israel Defense Forces, Occupation

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