3 October, 2005
Today I met Kaif, a boy down the street! He’s nine, a whole year older than me! But our birthdays are close. We played football together with his old ball. He needs a new one, this one has patches holding it together. It was still fun, though! We’re gonna play more tomorrow!
6 June, 2009
Kaif visited me last night and told me he wouldn’t be seeing me again. He didn’t understand it any better than me. But a long time ago we promised each other that we’d always be friends, no matter what.
Kaif had to move away, and now I’m alone.
We played together for four years. Hide and seek, tag, football, catch, everything! He was a good friend. But he had to leave today. I don’t understand why. I thought we were both Israeli. We both live in Israel, after all, or at least he used to. They said his parents were in trouble for something. But they wouldn’t tell me what, so I don’t know if I believe them.
My dad says that we’re Jewish and he’s Palestinian, and that seems to make a difference to grown-ups. It didn’t make a difference to us. It seems like they were just the wrong people group. Ethnicity, I think. That’s a word I learned in school. Ethnicity is a label that people use to be mean to other people without a good reason. People like Kaif. I don’t like ethnicity.
30 March, 2018
The Palestinians in Gaza tried to re-enter Israel today. They called it the “March of Return,” and they claimed that they were protesting peacefully. I didn’t see it that way. There’s nothing peaceful about an angry mob. My sergeant didn’t see it that way, either. And he told us to fire warning shots. Lethal warning shots.
So I did, because in the army you do what your commanders tell you and you don’t ask questions. I did for that reason, and I did because I believe that I must help protect my country. So I aimed my rifle, and the scope fell on a Palestinian man around my age. His face was haggard and his beard was scruffy, but through the telescopic sighting there was no mistaking him. It was Kaif.
I pulled the trigger. I had to; I was told to, and you don’t question your orders. You don’t hold back, not in this kind of situation. He died. That one shot was all it took. But I know I’d do it again if I was asked to. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
When I was a kid, I never would have done that. What would me from childhood think of me today? I can’t know, but I know that Kaif wasn’t the only little boy that died today.
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