The Chasam Sofer (Shu"t Y.D. 239) cites the gemara (Sanhedrin 47) that any Jew murdered by a gentile, even a wicked evildoer, is called holy. Certainly, the same is true of those who sacrificed their lives for our Land. "R' Shimon said: come see how beloved is the Land of Israel. All those who go to war run and then walk and then their feet stop and tremble under them as they draw close to battle. The Jewish people are not like this; when they come close to the Land their feet carry them faster, and they say one to another if we were to enter the Land and immediatly perish, it would still be worth it for the privilige of entering the Land promised to our forefathers." This is what was done by those holy ones who gave their lives fighting the Arabs - can there be any doubt that they merit Olam haBa?! Is it not a clear testimony that even if they did not see, their souls - the Jewish soul in their breast - saw, and yearned to return to its roots. "All who live in the Land are as if they have G-d" (Kesubos 110) - meaning, even those who do not understand or articulate the call to G-d, their soul still stirs and feels this need and calling. That is the meaning of "it is as if..." - even if their outward behavior does not reflect [this acceptance of G-d, it surely is within them].
-Eim haBanim Smeicha, p.121