Israel Gaza conflict: ‘Most of our shooting was random… we didn’t think about civilian casualties’

Israel Gaza conflict: ‘Most of our shooting was random… we didn’t think about civilian casualties’


The night before the entrance the commander
took us all and started briefing us about where we’re going to go, what we’re going
to do, what the risks are, what are the dangers, what we need to avoid and the rules of engagement
too. The rules were: if we see civilians, if we
can see something 200 metres or closer to us, it’s not a civilian at all. It’s maybe
a watcher for Hamas forces or a suicide bomber or just a terrorist. So, we had no brief about
civilians because it’s too close to us, we can shoot and kill it. On the 17th of July 2014, Israel launched
a major ground offensive into the Gaza Strip in a bid to stop rockets being fired by Palestinian
militants and to destroy a network of tunnels used by Hamas and other factions. By the time they left, some 2,200 Palestinians
would be dead, including a significant number of civilians. Now, for the first time, Israeli soldiers
have described the orders they received for fighting in civilian areas. Orders that treated any Palestinian as a threat. Among those who have spoken out is a 22-year-old
sergeant who served in a tank battalion during the 50 day war. One morning, the commander took six tanks.
We stood in a row, in front of al-Baraj and he told us over the radio: “Good morning al-Baraj.
Three, two one, fire.” And then all tanks just fired on random buildings
or random targets. Most of our shooting was random, we didn’t think about civilian casualties
and morals and some people thought it’s like a shooting range, some people thought it’s
fun, some people didn’t think about it at all. I just thought it’s really, really bad to
shoot on random targets without knowing the effect on the civilian population. The high amount of civilian casualties in
Operation Protective Edge, the huge amount of destruction we left behind in Gaza, by
no way was out of the blue. This is a direct result of new doctrines the IDF has developed. You basically cause disproportionate, significant
amount of damage to infrastructure, civilian property in the area you fight in order to
create deterrents. Juhor ad-Dik had between 12-20 houses to my
memory and when I went out I looked to Juhor ad-Dik again and saw between 1-3 houses. And then I asked my commander what happened,
why, why we need to do it, why there is nothing left there. So, he told me that the necessity
was to destroy the neighbourhood. Did you face any real danger from the houses? No, when… while we were entering there was
no shooting, no explosion at us. Nothing. We just entered in the night and in the morning
nothing happened and, when I think about it, nothing really happened from Juhor ad-Dik
to our forces. The zero-risk doctrine basically argues that
there is four levels of value of life. Right at the top: Israeli civilians. Then
come Israeli soldiers, then come Palestinian civilians and then Palestinian militants and
terrorists. So we, as an army, have to do everything possible
to bring the risk to our troops to zero even if it will cost a massive damage to the other
side, which is exactly the opposite of what international humanitarian law is about: protecting
civilians during time of conflict. I think there is a good chance of civilian
casualties in this random shooting because most of the time we shot to places further
than the combat zones – like one kilometre to three kilometres further in to the Gaza
Strip – and those places had never been warned by the IDF about shooting and fighting there.
So a lot of people stayed in their houses. The IDF is very proud of the precautionary
measures it took in Protective Edge. The leaflets that it disseminated warning the civilians
of an attack that is due, telephone calls et cetera. Indeed, international law demands, obliges,
combatants to take precautionary measures prior to attack in order to reduce the damage
to civilians. However, it seems from the testimonies that
the IDF took a position or a stand that precautionary measures can replace the principle of distinction,
when in fact, international law is very clear that precautionary measures is an obligation
that comes in addition to the obligation to always make a distinction between civilians and combatants and civilian objects and military objects. After a soldier in my unit died, the commander
told us to take our tanks and go to a combat position. Some commanders told (us) it was
a revenge shoot – in order to avenge his death and others say it’s for his honour. So we took our tanks, we went into a combat
position and we just – each and every gunner chose his building and shot on this building. I just saw a building. It was an orange building.
It was really high and I thought: “OK, I’m just going to shoot it.” This was the process
of picking up targets the whole conflict – for our unit, I know. It was: “OK, let’s shoot
this, let’s shoot that. Let’s do this, let’s do that.” Basically, what happened there is that the
IDF took its own ethical code and threw it out of the window. Part of the doctrine basically argues that
in an asymmetrical war you cannot really win it. It’s not something you fight, you win
and it’s over. It will come again and again, so the strategic objective is not to eliminate
the enemy, but to buy more time between rounds of conflict and the way you do it is by not
playing according to the rules.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

100 thoughts on “Israel Gaza conflict: ‘Most of our shooting was random… we didn’t think about civilian casualties’

  1. I guess Israel has had enough terror attacks from Gaza and ain't taking any more it ! . Just right to obliterate Hamas etc.

  2. Hamas: attacks israel

    Israel: fights back

    Hamas: look! zionists devils are atracking and killing us! We are innocent! We don't fire misslies from kinder gartens! Allah aukvauayayuuiaidj

  3. One simple thing need to be understood… These civilian people of Palestine have given aid to HAMAS.. they should have thought of the consequences in hand. Good job IDF

  4. As a former idf soldier i can asure you that the thing been said are making me seek to my stomek it is not more then a distorsion of realety !
    The idf is the most moral and peace seeking army in the whole world and thats a cold hard fact !
    The poor peple of the gaza strip are suffering from years of being neglected by their own goverment who uses schools kindergardens and hospitals as rocket lunching facilities this is just unheard off
    Where in the world will a countrey accept being bombarded day after day distrying its most basic dailey life rutin

    Hamas ! Stop being deaf to your pepls showting and bagging for better future stop the blood shedding enough!!!!

  5. I like warning the enemy. But I really think that's all they can do. If someone is nearby there is not really time to determine if he is a combatant or not. It's not always people in uniforms shooting rockets. It's not people in uniforms stabbing Israeli citizens to death. This is not a traditional war. All our rules are based on traditional warfare where the enemy wears a uniform and agrees to follow the rules himself. Israel indiscriminately shoots into a city with tanks (after sending warnings) and stories like this come out. Hamas has done this to Israel without warnings and nothing…

    Hamas, please stop shooting rockets at Israel! We don't want to see videos like this anymore! Israel will defend themselves!

  6. I'm from Pakistan but just I would say to Israel one day we will finished to Israel all people stupid people on the world

  7. Galatians 6:7: โ€œDo not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.โ€

  8. The pain and torture that is being given to innocent civilians relentlessly, is completely insignificant compared to the eternity of pain and torture that the dirty murdering torturing evil robbers will receive

  9. The Guardian supports liberal democrats. I don't believe a thing. Is there an honest report about Israel

  10. 1 second ago

    If Hamas and their gunmen were loyal to their people, they would not had fired from houses tops, hidden among civilians. But they will never ever fight in pitched battle, thus their people are taken hostage

  11. Arabs don't want any relationship with Israelis, but war.

    Arab wars are not going so well for Arabs. Boo hoo.

  12. Palestinians rebels need to stop shooting rockets into Israel.
    The foolish Palestinians are taught to hate Israel since young in the Islamic mosque.

  13. Many terrorists hide in schools and hospitals. The horror of the war is that they didn't know who was a terrorist or not, and if you wait too long to shoot you would possibly be dead

  14. ืชื ื• ืœืฆื”ืœ ืœื ืฆื— ืœ… ืช'ืขืจื‘ื™ื

  15. but why are there always wars that is from 2000 years and always , israel and palestines are of two families Israel are jewsh and palestines are muslims only that is the reason!!:

  16. Gaza is the equivalent of a crowded concentration camp with far too many people all crowded together. This situation has been the result of Israeli occupation .

  17. go back to Israel again u will see what will happen to you. next time it will be operating non living thing stupid people

  18. 3:45, about what he said: Any commander will tell you if you feel you're in imminent danger then you protect yourself by any means.

  19. 50 day war? You mean genocide. The world is watching. The UN has already found Israel guilty of crimes against humanity.

  20. They are NO LONGER CIVILIANS when they give aid to the enemy. At that point they become combatants…

  21. The people who are interviewed belong to the Breaking the Silence organization. In Israel they have already researched this organization and discovered that they are simply lying

  22. ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑAM ISRAEL CHAI๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ

    KILL THE GODDAMN HAMAS๐Ÿคฌ๐Ÿคฌ

  23. Israel is doing the right thing!!!!!!๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

  24. i pray to israel for thier safety from evil arab palistine terrorist.. you attacked first to israeli right.. think of it what would a leader do for those who attacked first

  25. Bravo, Izrael Army is Best Army of all World!!! Bay from Czech republic!! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ’“

  26. shame on u israel..booooo….acting like a lion but in real life u are piggy..all the world is watching u.. hye from indosian , malaysia and pakistan…

  27. Genocide – and some think to be critical of indiscriminate slaughter of civilians is being antisemite – would you accept an excuse that it was an order in Nuremberg? then why would you accept it in Israel?

  28. The gaza striked first now they are crying,even their demostrations in France,UK,Germany were not peaceful demostration,everything about these people are Radicals

  29. Please, show me some Guardian article that presents any facts from the other side aggression against Israeli civilians near Gaza. NONE !!! This is Guardian! The Hamas affiliated newspaper.

  30. Israel๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช

  31. ืชืžื•ืช ื™ื‘ื•ื’ื“

  32. Stay strong Israel! Love from the United States of America ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

  33. Its good , no dialogues, Only do or Die situation , hopefully one day Do will win , but no idea Do is who ๐Ÿค— carry on..

  34. What a nice way to ensure future attacks on yourself. Come destroy my house when I did nothing and I will come for you. Then again the US government will happily keep supplying the Israelis with more ammo and money…….

  35. God Bless Israel! Shร lom๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ•Žโœก๏ธ Fire on Israel…you will be leveled!๐Ÿ’ฅ

  36. stupid solider it was random for yoy but commander not tell always what are you shooting he get in his radio from the modiin

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