IDF Medics: Human Suffering Transcends Conflict

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- In nearly every war, the cry of "medic" fills the battlefield. That is especially true now for U.S. soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Israeli soldiers face similar dangers whether it's Gaza, the Lebanese border or a terror attack.

It may be just an exercise for the media, but Israeli Defense Forces or IDF medics know they can be called upon at any moment for the real thing.

"Sometimes the bad guys win," said Sgt. Arnold Starkowitz, spokesman for the IDF Medical Corps. "Sometimes the bad guys find a way to still harm the troops and to injure them and that's why here at the military medical school we train the medics the best as we can and give them all the information and knowledge and training so while they're in the field to - God forbid - have to save lives."

The center trains more than 2,000 medics each year for real life combat situations.

"Each medic is first of all a soldier, a warrior," Starkowitz said. "They first finish the combat. So let's say there is a group of terrorists. They would first neutralize the threat and only then would they be able to able to start treating the wounded."

In the IDF, the medics include women.

"We do have combat medical courses that are joined, boys and men and women because they're both combat and they both fight in the field," Starkowitz explained.

CBN News got an exclusive interview with one of those female combat medics. For security reasons, we can't show her face. While she's an IDF medic, she says they treat everyone. She feels human suffering transcends the Palestinian - Israeli conflict.

"I think that it doesn't matter if you are an Israeli or a Palestinian or if you are a Jew or an Arab," she said. "It matters that you are a human being and you need help and we don't look at what kind of person is that or where he lives or what he's doing. We took also terrorists."

But that's not the image much of the world sees from the front lines of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For example, many international groups accused the IDF of atrocities during the Gaza War earlier this year. And just last month, a Swedish newspaper article accused Israeli soldiers of killing Palestinians and selling their body parts. It is an accusation Israel vehemently denies.

"Here we have the most abominable accusations presented without the slightest piece of evidence," said Yigal Palmor, Israel's foreign ministry spokesman. "The article has the clear elements of medieval blood libels against Jews. It encourages hate crimes against these Jews and it's intolerable."

"I really think this is not correct to what everyone says," the female medic said. "Because I know that the army told every warrior not to fire on innocent people. To be extra, extra careful and sometimes they risk their life for not shooting them, because there was a terrorist behind them."

"And they need to understand that we need to protect ourselves," she continued.  "We are just taking care of ourselves and we're trying to do this in the most humanitarian way that we can."

 

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