Motivation + Gaza + war = Hollywood

Lieutenant S’ was a crack sniper in the Israeli army. About 9 months ago, he was severely wounded in Gaza by a Palestinian sniper. He took two bullets, which penetrated vital organs.

S’, whose name has not been released for security reasons, was not expected to survive.

A former martial arts expert, S’ was fully conscious when he reached hospital. Within 5 months, he had left his recuperation unit, a near record time. Although confined to his wheelchair, he successfully pushed to be inducted in an officer’s course. And, having passed with honours, he has returned to his crack unit.

Hollywood loves stories like this. Remember the film about the first American black navy diver, who defeated racism and then overcame the loss of a leg? What in hell drives these people ? And why insist on returning to places, where they had already lost limbs?

I do not know if there is a definitive answer. S’ is currently fighting his next war against accepted medical principal, determined to abandon his wheelchair one day.

Somewhere, mixed up in all the pain and the sentiments of heroics is a basic feeling or deep need to “do good”. In other words, people like this just want to serve their country, to protect their fellow citizens, whenever and whatever it takes.

They have been brought up with a deep motivation to succeed. And when that success can be shared by the whole country, they know that they have accomplished something morally good, which an be passed on to others.

During the fighting in Gaza, around 1,250 Palestinians were killed. The IDF has named all of them, of whom about 2/3 were combatants. Palestinians sources put the figure at about 1.400, but the stat is open to questioning.

I gather that S’ lives not far from me. As a result of the war, another neighbour did not return from the battle. Others were injured. All of them shared one thing in common – a burning desire to contribute. They understood that Israel’s security is won through being prepared and by defending the country through honour and by all legal means.

Israeli troops have long since withdrawn from Gaza, although the shelling of southern towns by Hamas continues sporadically. Meanwhile, Israel’s critics are having a field day. The UN has appointed a commission to investigate possible excesses by the Israeli military, although no inquiry has considered the role of Hamas sending rockets against population centres.

The international media has consistently lambasted Israeli units for not taking into account the needs of innocent civilians in the field of battle. Yet concurrently, there were wars in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iraq, and in several African countries. For all the inconsistencies and abuses in these conflicts, no inquiries have been launched. You do not find any investigative reporters from the Sunday Times or the New York Times.

The Israeli army has announced that it is investigating 14 separate incidents of possible abuse by soldiers. No other army in the world has such a transparent system. No questions are asked in Westminster or in Congress about possible misdemeanours by NATO troops.

The UK’s leading journal for black people, The Voice, recently claimed abuses against blacks in Israeli prisons. The article was soon pulled from the website after it was found to be ridden with factual errors.

And so the ritual of this unethical mock trial continues. Maybe the true Hollywood story is not the heroics of S’. What the scriptwriters should look for are the facts hidden from view by those who should be writing about them every day. S’ merely symbolises what 99.9% of Israelis think and how they try to behave day after day, despite the mistrials and hypocrisies of others.

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