The soldiers that maintain the maritime closure on Gaza

Under constant threat, these soldiers employ humanity and restraint, adhering to ethical values

Date: 24/10/2011, 12:21 PM     Author: Bamahane Magazine

The routine security reconnaissance company of the Ashdod base was assigned the responsibility to maintain Israel’s maritime closure on Gaza since the completion of Operation Cast Lead. Just a few weeks ago, the maritime closure was deemed legal by the Palmer Committee; the UN Committee assigned to investigate the Gaza flotilla incident.

Commander of the unit, Cpt. D explained that the soldiers train with mock ships attempting suicide against IDF (Zahal) vessels, terrorist boats out at sea, and even terrorist activity on shore. “Our threat is constant,” he explained, “we deal with occurrences like these on a daily basis.”

“We are the closure,” he continued. “At the border there aren’t any fences, just open spaces.” Since there can be no physical boundary out at sea, the soldiers must serve as the border.

“When we locate a vessel at the closure line we first shoot in the air. It’s crucial for us to maintain a sense of humanity. We teach our soldiers to employ constraint and follow the values that guide us,” explained Cpt. D.

For some of the soldiers in the unit, serving near the Gaza Strip is especially difficult.”We see Grad rockets fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel and understand that each missile may harm Israeli civilians,” said Cpt. D. “This is a difficult situation, especially for soldiers who live in southern communities. Spending days at sea, they see missiles launched at their homes unable to contact their families to make sure everything is ok.”