Within seconds it exploded
The events took place in the winter of 2007, as part of Operation Hot Winter in The Casbah (the old city) of Nablus, which was then the stronghold of terror in the Samaria region. Our mission was to locate weapons and wanted people and, since this was a large mission, it involved several units. As I was leading the team we reached a crossroad. My commander asked me to take a look at the alley to make sure there was no danger to the rest of the team. As I entered the alley, I spotted dozens of young children at the ages of 5-11, standing in front of me, shouting, cursing in Arabic and Hebrew and throwing stones at me. This was no coincidence. I sensed the event was well planned and these children were trained how to respond when encountering soldiers. As I was standing and waiting for my team to pass, I noticed that what I’d thought was a stone thrown at me was not exactly a stone. This so called “stone” had a fuse attached to it, it was a bomb. Within seconds it exploded. Fortunately for me I was only slightly injured.
During my service I took part in many combat events, but this was the first time I had to face actual children in a combat zone, throwing stones and using firearms. It was a shock for me and all my teammates. I remember it as a change in my perspective. The enemy sends its children to fight and forces you to cope with an unfamiliar situation. They send little children, knowing the IDF’s commands not to shoot young children, even if they throw rocks. While the soldiers face this dilemma, the terrorists hide behind the children, using them as human shields. From the terrorists’ perspective it is a win-win situation. If the child hits the soldier or enables the terrorist to hurt him, it is a success, and if the soldier hurts the child in self-defense it is a success in demonizing the IDF in the world’s opinion. At the time it was a surprise, today it is most certainly not. Using children as human shields is the standard method of operation for the terrorists we combat.