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"It Haunts and Shames Us": Former Israeli Soldiers Speak Out on Gaza

Plus a U.S. doctor in Khan Younis and an exclusive Gary Lineker interview

“The dehumanization of Palestinians is so endemic in Israeli society, for so many years and has kind of been supported, and not really called out, by Israel's allies.”
- Benzion Sanders, former Israeli soldier

This week on ‘Mehdi Unfiltered,’ two Israeli military veterans reveal how serving in the 2014 Gaza war fundamentally changed their view on Israel’s violent approach to the Palestinians.

Also on this week’s show…

As the Israeli military continues to ramp up its invasion of Rafah – Gaza’s last refuge – an American doctor at the European Hospital in Khan Younis, in the Rafah evacuation zone, tells Mehdi how his hospital has turned into a “scene out of Armageddon.”

In his monologue Mehdi not only denounces Israel’s horrific invasion, but also calls on President Biden to uphold the “red line” he told Israel not to cross. 

Plus, Mehdi fanboys over UK sports broadcaster and retired footballer Gary Lineker in an interview on British politics, anti-immigrant sentiment, Gaza, and of course, English football. 

Inside Israel’s military operations…

After serving in Israel’s war against Gaza in 2014 and seeing their country’s military operations up close, Benzion Sanders and Ariel Bernstein, two former special forces soldiers, turned into anti-occupation activists and have been speaking out ever since against their country’s brutal oppression of Palestinians. 

They joined ‘Mehdi Unfiltered’ to discuss what they learned from their own Gaza experience and how they view the current Israeli campaign in Rafah – and the right-wing trends in Israeli society.

“Destroying a whole neighborhood and all the buildings that we've seen and been inside for no apparent clear reason, seems to me ​– I don't know if it's a war crime or not, according to international law – but it seems like a crime. It seems like something that I am ashamed that I took part in,” Bernstein told Mehdi. 

On Rafah… 

“It's just a scene out of an Armageddon.” In an interview with Mehdi, Palestinian-American ICU doctor Mohamad Abdel-Fattah, who's been volunteering at the European Hospital near Rafah’s evacuation zone, describes the sheer horror hospitals are facing as Israel escalates their assault on Rafah.

“It's just chaos…  as you try to maneuver your way through the hospital, there are entire families living in every inch. And so you have kids playing in the hospital. You hear babies crying.”

On Biden…

In his opening monologue, Mehdi addressed President Biden’s response to Israel’s invasion of Rafah, calling on the president to do more than just “a single pause of a single arms shipment.”

“Pick up the phone, Mr President. End all of this, right now,” Mehdi said. “You, Joe Biden, can end this disastrous Gaza war and do all of that, or you can spend the rest of this year trying to conjure up a response to pro-Palestine protesters at public events of yours, as they heckle ‘Genocide Joe’ at you.”

A surprise guest…

UK sports broadcaster and former footballer Gary Lineker isn’t afraid to speak out. Not just about football, but also contentious issues like immigration and Palestine. In addition to some football chat (or as Americans call it, “soccer”), and a paean to Lionel Messi, Lineker tells Mehdi what it’s like to be targeted by the right-wing press for speaking out in defense of refugees - and how he hosted two refugees in his home. He also talks about crying while watching social media videos from Gaza.

“It's slightly bizarre… I just give my honest opinions and generally they're not necessarily political. They're more, I think, humanitarian,” Lineker said. “I've stuck up for the plight of refugees and the awful things and the dreadful circumstances that caused them to perhaps leave their homes, which obviously you would never want to do. So, all I've ever really asked for is a bit of compassion, a little bit of understanding.” 

Don’t forget to watch the full show above! 

As always, for paid subscribers, tell us what you think in the comments and who you’d like to see on next week’s show.