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07/24/2014 04:10 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

This American Fought For Israel But Feels 'Terrible For The People In Gaza'

Two Americans serving in the Israel Defense Forces were killed last weekend in Gaza, but they’re not the only U.S. citizens fighting for Israel. One former lone soldier who fought in the Golani Brigade, sat down with HuffPost Live on Thursday, to discuss his motivations for joining and why he feels “terrible” for the victims of Gaza.

“I was always really politically aware ... but I felt that wasn’t enough,” Cohen told host Marc Lamont Hill. “I felt that I had to actually feel it on my flesh and not just go to Washington [for AIPAC] once a year and advocate for Israel.”

But after volunteering with the army and seeing the carnage firsthand, Cohen said his own opinions regarding the conflict shifted. While the former soldier feels for those in Gaza, he suggested that Hamas’ leadership could be responsible for much of the hardship.

“I do identify with the fact that some of the Palestinians have tough lives, and I don’t think that’s necessarily all Israel’s fault,” he said. “I think that a lot of that is due to their leadership. But I do understand the plight of Palestinians who are stuck under Hamas, a terrorist organization who’s killing their own people just to make Israel look bad in the world press. I feel terrible for them. I feel terrible for the people in Gaza.”

Cohen continues to support Israel but has set his convictions aside.

“The things that are coming out of there are atrocious,” Cohen said. “It doesn’t matter where you’re from. No one deserves to be treated that way, especially by the government you voted in.”

Watch the full HuffPost Live interview below:

HuffPost

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