Amos Shani Atzmon says he doesn’t blame Palestinians in Gaza for hating Israel right now.
“They have really good reasons. When you see cities on fire and are getting bombed … I had one close friend killed in Gaza and I am thinking about the people whose entire families died in bombing,” he said.
An Israel Defence Forces (IDF) reservist, Atzmon, 26, was called up just hours after Hamas launched its brutal terror attack on Israel, murdering around 1,200 people and kidnapping 253 others.
Israel swiftly retaliated to the October 7 assault with a massive aerial bombardment campaign, followed by a ground operation. More than 27,000 people have been killed in Gaza since, according to the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in the enclave. According to UN agencies, 400,000 Gazans are at risk of starving.
The ministry does not distinguish between Hamas fighters and civilians, but says about 70% of the casualties are women and children. Israel estimates it has killed about 10,000 Hamas militants since October 7. CNN is not able to independently confirm those numbers.
The international community, including some of Israel’s closest allies, are increasingly horrified at the scale of the violence inflicted on civilians in Gaza.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) found that it was “plausible” that Israel was committing genocide in Gaza and ordered Israel to “take all measures” to limit the death and destruction caused by its military campaign, prevent and punish incitement to genocide, and ensure access to humanitarian aid. The decision by ICJ is not a ruling on whether Israel’s actions constitute genocide.
Regardless, little has changed on the ground.
Atzmon said he is the “left-wing guy” in his unit. Like tens of thousands of others, he had spent most of last spring and summer protesting against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his plans to overhaul Israel’s judiciary.
Netanyahu’s government is the most right-wing in Israel’s history, rejecting the idea of a Palestinian state and supporting Jewish settlements inside the West Bank.