First there is the noise. It is everywhere. It echoes from the hills around you. It goes under your helmet. The sound of hundreds of people shouting, whistling, stamping. Things are thrown at your direction. Most of them stones. Somebody screams slogans in a loudspeaker and the mob answers in screams of its own. Everybody is moving, people are jumping around, caught in a giant turbulence of self-righteousness.
You can understand some of the words. “Falastin”. That is their name to your home. “Dam” is blood in Hebrew also. “Maut” is death. Yours, probably, the man in the olive-green outfit. This gathering of people, just 100 meters away, wishes you dead.
In their lives, probably, they are nice, normative people. They are your age, some are younger. Students, many of them. They like the same music as you, same food, same movies. But you are Israeli and they are not. And now they are dancing this dance of hatred, sinking in a trance of emotions, repeating their mantras. “Death to the Zionists”. That’s you. “Freedom to Palestine”. That is your country without you. In their minds there is no place for “green line”, “1967 borders”, “two countries for two nations”. They want their Falastin, they want it all and they want it now. And they want you out.
And you stand there, a border-fence away. You are a soldier. You are at home. You stand and you pray. Pray for them to stop. Because they are slowly moving. And there is the red line. 90 meters.
There is silence at your side. Only the calm and familiar grey noise of the military radio. You can feel the summer wind. You wish you were at some other place. Because there is the red line. 70 meters.
Maybe you think about history. Maybe you think about home. Maybe you don’t think at all. You see them, those angry, excited people coming at you. You know they are the enemy. You know they are unarmed. But there is the red line. 50 meters.
“You’ve made your point,” you think. “Stop, please stop.” But they don’t. “You are tools!” You want to shout. “Can’t you see? They are using you! They need you to die!” But they keep walking, keep shouting, keep throwing. Molotov cocktails appear. There is a flash of fire in the dry bushes, just before the red line. 30 meters.
You see their faces now. You know that in a few seconds your life will change forever. The sweat is in your eyes, the salt is burning and you wish you could cry, but you can’t. The noise is overwhelming. You raise your weapon. You find your target. “Please stop, you idiots.” But they don’t. And there is the red line. 15 meters.
It is the border. It is the line that defines our land, our place of dwelling. It is the frame of our hopes and dreams, our culture, our history and our future. It is the dam that stops the people who want to see our home in ruins. People who dedicate their lives to the destruction of my home, to the killing of my family, my friends and me. It cannot be crossed. It is the red line. 5 meters.
They made their choice. They have been warned. They cross the line.
Would I pull the trigger?