After spending the night in a small apartment building, just before dawn we started our advance. The highlight of this advance was the ultimate target: taking over a weapons depot. This weapons depot was theoretically a set of warehouses holding food and other canned supplies. Hamas, however, currently stored more rockets and rifles there than anything else.

We continued through the city and entered a group of greenhouses. Everywhere in Gaza there are greenhouses. Some of them are from the Jewish settlers before they were forcefully evacuated. Most of them, however, are from a man named George Soros. George Soros is a philanthropist who donated billions of dollars building greenhouses for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. That's great, but apparently the Palestinians failed to realize that the greenhouses only have value if you actually grow things in them. Almost every greenhouse in Gaza was in perfect condition (or at least, they were before we got there). They were also full of weeds. That was something that really surprised me. The Palestinians are genuinely starving to death, and they have greenhouses full of weeds growing in their backyards.

Likewise because the ground is so fertile, and once upon a time there was produce, there are now onions, potatoes, and various other edibles growing randomly. Sometimes even in the gutter. These onions and potatoes provided a creative way for us soldiers to add some variety to the tuna and mini-salami sticks that we ate exclusively the entire operation.

This greenhouse was no exception and was also full of weeds and an occasional lonely onion. My platoon entered the large greenhouse first and waited. Then the mortars, as usual, began the bombardment. During the operation I had discovered that the IDF apparently has no real doctrine of "Danger Close." In the American military it is an official rule that there is no bombardment within 300 meters of their own troops. In the Israeli military I was beginning to realize that there is no such rule. The previous day we had been in a house and the sharpshooters were taking positions near the windows. Axel and another sharpshooter, Lax, were having a disagreement about the safety goggles we wear during urban warfare. Lax insisted that it was okay to take them off, but Axel wasn't so sure. A few moments later one of the choppers sighted a threat of some kind in the house next to us. They fired a missile. The whole house shook violent and all the windows that weren't broken already shattered. The shards of glass flew to the opposite side of room and all the soldiers inside the house dove to the ground. Captain America called over the radio and demanded that they cease firing, or at the very least give us some kind of forewarning.

And here in the greenhouse it wasn't much different. The mortars and missiles fell. The demolitions platoon also took down a few buildings. With every large explosion I watched flaming debris land on the transparent roof of the greenhouse just over my head. I listened to the trickling sound of small pieces of stone and concrete landing on tin roofs and the transparent greenhouse roofing. It was not unlike a momentary hailstorm.

After the initial bombardment we moved forward. We entered the depot. By this time it was abandoned and most, but not all, of the weapons removed. We found a brand new, $50,000 Toyota Land Cruiser parked near the office. The Land Cruiser had been outfitted with a custom package, including leather seats as well as specially-designed Hamas hood ornaments and other paraphernalia. When I found the car it had already taken quite a bit of damage from the bombing and shooting. One of the tires, however, was still inflated.

"I haven't done this since I was back in the United States!" I announced as I whipped out my commando knife and stabbed the tire. I felt a personal satisfaction from the ensuing hissing sound.

We got a good laugh out of it but I was still reminded by Captain America that this was not our goal in the operation. "The place is already full of terrorists. They don't need any more." And he was right. It is extremely important to remain professional and looting is not the objective. Still, the car was all but destroyed and they had bought it with humanitarian funding. So I felt no qualms of conscience.

We were just about finished with the day's assignment. We continued the usual pattern of entry and covering fire, taking and searching house and building after house and building. At one point we were moving along a house with a large quantity of smoke billowing out of the windows and openings. A propane tank had been inside and the mortars ignited it. Now the house was on fire, and there were a few more propane tanks outside. We kept moving as quickly as possible without exposing ourselves to gunfire.

We made the depot the new logistics rendezvous. This part of the city would be our new base of operations for the next few days while we waited (as usual) for the rest of the army to advance and the politicians to... do whatever it is that politicians do. I have yet to figure that out.