Reflecting on the past two years representing the IDF in the West Bank, so many thoughts run through my mind – lessons learned, ideas discovered, emotions felt, and experiences had. For the past two weeks, I have tried to sum it all up, rather unsuccessfully. Overwhelmed with ideas, emotions and experiences, it has been difficult for me to write a comprehensive summary of all that I’ve seen, heard, felt, thought and learned. Nonetheless, this is my attempt at doing so, so that I can share with all of you – my friends, family, colleagues, and those who have joined me digitally – my final reflections before I leave my position as Spokesperson for the Judea and Samaria Division. (I urge you read my post from last Friday.).)
Whenever I brief on the situation in the West Bank, I am consistently struck by the complexities and intricacies of the IDF’s critical mission in the area. While I have spent the past two years explaining incidents that involve our troops, this past Tuesday (Aug. 6, 2013), I found myself in the midst of a security event that could have ended very badly.
I was on a tour with LT Yehonatan, my successor, and we were driving from Division HQ to the Shomron Brigade HQ. While driving along Route 60, we passed through the outskirts of the Palestinian village of Huwara. Huwara can hardly be considered a friendly village, and the stretch of highway that meets the village has been the site of explosive device attacks, shootings, pipe-bombs, fire bombs (Molotov cocktails), burning tires, and rock throwing. About three weeks ago, in the very same location, IDF troops had caught the man responsible for the June 12th and June 25th shooting incidents.
As we were driving, I noticed a Palestinian male who appeared to be in his mid-teens standing about 5 meters off the road. In the seconds that I watched him, he drew a grey pistol and aimed it at us.
Have you ever had a gun aimed at you? Because I hadn’t.
I immediately jerked the car as we made eye contact. Startled, the young man immediately disappeared into the alleyways. My heart was pounding and thousands of thoughts ran through my mind in the blink of an eye. Do I scramble out of the car and give chase? Do I fire warning shots in the air in an attempt to halt his escape? Do I drive into Huwara in an attempt to chase him down quickly? But that wasn’t all. Was he 16 or was he younger? Was it a gun or was it a toy? If it was a real gun, why didn’t he fire when he had me in his sights (mind you, I had a clear vision of the darkness inside the barrel)? If it was a toy gun and he was playing – where were his friends? Then there were the thoughts that brought me back to the many operational probes I sat through. If I …read more