As the war in Gaza rages on and the casualties reported continue to increase, many activists outside of Israel have questioned what exactly the IDF is doing on the ground. But spending even one day inside Gaza with IDF reservists is enough to see that the IDF is not only fighting a war against the terrorist organization Hamas but against an entire system devised by Palestinian terrorists and their supporters in order to maximize civilian casualties – on both sides.
On November 16, Ynetnews joined IDF forces in the northern Gaza Strip to witness the humanitarian corridor that tens of thousands of Palestinians have safely used in order to flee the areas of intensive fighting for refuge in the south.
This passageway, along with multiple others in Gaza organized by the IDF, was created in response to Hamas threatening and even opening fire on Palestinian civilians who heeded the IDF’s warning to evacuate the area towards the south. Palestinian social media as well as Israeli intelligence have confirmed that Hamas has both blocked roads for Palestinians to exit, and shot at Palestinian civilians trying to flee.
Upon entering the Gaza Strip, driving through one of the very fences that Hamas terrorists broke through on October 7 in order to massacre Israeli men, women and children, the destruction is evident. Throughout the visit, explosions and gunshots can be heard. But what else was found in Gaza, didn’t exactly jive with the accusations that the IDF is using disproportionate or indiscriminate force against Palestinians. In fact, quite the opposite.
Palestinians are relying on the IDF to protect them too, and the humanitarian corridor, through which hundreds passed only in the time Ynetnews was in Gaza, is protected on all sides by IDF combat soldiers, not threatening, but protecting the civilians seeking refuge.
Capt. Natan, an IDF (res.) officer in the 16th Division, told Ynetnews while in Gaza, “the reason we are here now is because when the war began, there were citizens who wanted to go to a safe place in the south, and then they came here and they found Hamas who didn’t let them go to a safe place [they were shooting at them]…this is the main street Salaheddin street and they didn’t let them go, and we wanted to give them the opportunity to get to a safe place…we’re securing the site.”
Cpt. Natan also said more than a million Palestinians have passed through northern Gaza in the past two weeks, with thousands still going through the humanitarian corridor we stood by.
Additionally, the IDF has overseen the transfer of hundreds of trucks of humanitarian aid to Palestinians in need, and is doing so on a daily basis. As of November 16, the IDF has overseen the transfer of 1,373 trucks of humanitarian aid to Gaza since the start of the war. The IDF also transferred medical supplies and incubators to Gaza and is in the process of planning field hospitals in southern Gaza.
“We know that if we see a school and if we see a hospital, that's actually the best way to find such things [terror sites]. Hamas terrorists use civilians as human shields and they use schools to put very big launching sites and the tunnels nearby, all the time. We see it all over the Gaza Strip,” said Cpt. Natan
Cpt. Natan and the unit also confirmed that the areas we walked through and witnessed were in fact areas in which terror tunnels had been found in recent weeks – including one under a girls' school – a phenomenon all too common according to all the soldiers present.
“We know that if we see a school and if we see a hospital, that's actually the best way to find such things (terror sites). Hamas terrorists use civilians as human shields and they use schools to put very big launching sites and the tunnels nearby, all the time. We see it all over the Gaza Strip,” said Cpt. Natan.
While IDF soldiers are doing all they can to reduce and prevent civilian casualties, there is no doubt that the mission here is to eliminate and destroy the capabilities of Hamas for good. Cpt. Natan shared that his personal agenda is also putting an end to Hamas, for the sake of his family and all of Israel.
“Our mission is to destroy the Hamas infrastructure [not the people]...when we came a day after the massacre and saw the destroyed houses, and we saw what they did to little children and to entire families…I have four kids in my house…we are here to ensure that this will never happen again.”