Everyone in Israel felt the anguish of the news that three Israeli hostages had been accidentally killed by IDF forces after they escaped Hamas captivity. The thought that three people who the entire country was yearning for the return of came so close to freedom before tragically being mistaken for the enemy by the very people risking their lives to save them is utterly heart breaking.

No one felt the pain of this moment more than the mothers of the hostages. No one will have to live with the consequences of this action more than the soldiers who made this tragic mistake.

Iris Haim, the mother of Yotam, one of the three men who were accidentally killed, gave a powerful message to the IDF regiment involved in this tragic incident. It is a much needed message for all to hear.

“Hello to the Bislach Brigade, battalion 17, this is Iris Haim, I’m Yotam’s mother.

I wanted to tell you that I love you very much and I embrace you from afar. I know that everything that happened is completely not your fault, it’s nobody’s fault – except the Hamas, may their name and memory be wiped off the face of the earth.

We invite you to come visit us at the earliest opportunity, whoever is willing, we want to see you with our own eyes and embrace you and tell you that what you have done – as painful as it is to say, and as sad as it is – was likely the right thing to do at that moment, and none of us are judging you or angry with you. Not me, not my husband Raviv, not my daughter Noya, not Yotam, of blessed memory, and not Tuval, Yotam’s brother.

We love you very much, and that’s that”.

Powerful words spoken from an Israeli mother who had just lost her son, speaking to other sons who are risking their lives to defend the Jewish state.

Iris’s words of love will surely allow the soldiers responsible to find a glimmer of solace in this tragedy. These words will help them start the healing process of forgiving themselves for their tragic mistake. Importantly, it will give them the inspiration they need to keep on fighting and complete their task of ending Hamas.

We were privileged to be able to listen to Iris speak in London last month at the “Never Again Is Now” rally where Jews and Christians gathered outside Downing Street to show support for Israel and called for Hamas to free the hostages. You can watch her speech in the video below (53 minute mark):

The media response to this tragedy was sadly as expected, they were quick to paint Israel in a bad light. Anti-Israel activists, to their shame, exploited this tragedy to spread their lies about Israel and excuse the evils of Hamas.

Israel is the moral good in this war. Regardless of what lies and misinformation are out there, the truth is that Israel is doing all it can to protect the lives of Israelis and Palestinian civilians. While Hamas butchered innocent Israelis who begged for their lives homes, Israel is showing mercy to armed terrorists who surrender, and even then, the world condemns Israel because the terrorists who were shooting at the soldiers moments earlier are handcuffed and no longer wearing shirts.

When Israel accidentally kills an innocent person, it is a tragedy. Israel holds itself accountable, investigates itself, and takes steps to stop these events happening in the future.

There were a number of individual events that led to this tragedy. An Israeli service dog, equipped with a camera, found the hostages but was killed by Hamas before it could return. The IDF only recovered the video from the dogs body days after the tragic incident. The SOS sign that was written with food was found days before the incident. Unfortunately, the IDF dismissed its genuineness, thinking it was a Hamas booby trap (as Hamas is known for doing this). The regiment that carried out the tragic shooting were a different force to the one who found the sign. A communication breakdown meant the second regiment were unaware that Israeli hostages could be in the area. All of these things led to this tragedy and will result in Israel making changes.

Contrast this with Hamas. Hamas have killed hundreds of their own people. Rockets fired from Gaza are not very reliable and there are dozens of accounts of Hamas rockets landing on Palestinian homes and killing innocent Palestinians. There is no international media outcry when this happens and activist groups don’t use these tragedies to highlight the evils of Hamas. In fact, the opposite happens. When the Al-Shifa hospital was truck and innocents were killed, the media wrongly spread the lie that Israel was responsible. Hamas was never held to account for this tragedy even though it was a Hamas rocket that killed Palestinians.

Hamas has no concern for the lives of Palestinians. Hamas does not hold an internal investigation into the matter or show any sign of remorse for killing their own. Instead, Hamas encourages its citizens to “martyr” themselves for the cause. The children killed by Hamas’s own rockets are counted as “martyrs”. In fact, Hamas wants as many of its own killed as possible to stir up hatred against Israel. Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh said Hamas “needs” the blood of many Gazan civilians – women, children and elderly – “because it awakens within us the revolutionary spirit.” What a demonic belief.

The IDF are the polar opposite of Hamas. Israel is doing all it can to protect innocent civilians on both sides. On Sunday, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi told soldiers in Gaza it was extremely important to not shoot anyone who raises their hands in surrender, even in the midst of a warzone.

“Even those who fought and now put down their weapons and raise their hands — we capture them, we don’t shoot them. We extract a lot of intelligence from the prisoners we have; we have over 1,000 already,” he told the soldiers. “We don’t shoot them, because the IDF doesn’t shoot a person who raises his hands. This is a strength, not a weakness.”

Israel understands that mercy towards your enemy is a strength.

Mistakes happen, but the policy of the IDF is to preserve lives, even of those who seek their harm. Israel’s forces must continue to eradicate the world of this evil and to free the innocent from their grasp – both the hostages of Israel and the innocent Palestinians who have for too long suffered under the iron grip of Hamas – but they do so with a high moral standard.

Israelis know this, which is why the mother of a son who was tragically killed by the IDF is still supporting the actions of the IDF. This is a war of good versus evil. Israel is good and Hamas is evil. Good will overcome evil because it has to.