The organization of active and reserve duty soldiers, called Breaking the Silence, gathered testimonies from more than 60 enlisted men and officers who served in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge.
The soldiers describe reducing Gaza neighborhoods to sand, firing artillery at random houses to avenge fallen comrades, shooting at innocent civilians because they were bored and watching armed drones attack a pair of women talking on cellular phones because they were assumed to be Hamas scouts.
The director of the group, Yuli Novak, called the rules of engagement in Operation Protective Edge “the most permissive” they have seen and amounted to an “ethical failure ... from the top of the chain of command.” Novak called for an independent investigation.
The 240-page report “This is How We Fought in Gaza 2014” was released Monday and accompanied by videotaped testimony that aired on Israeli news programs.
The soldiers describe how they were told by commanders to view all Palestinian in the combat zones as a potential threat, whether they brandished weapons or not. Individuals spotted in windows and rooftops — especially if they were speaking on a cellular telephone — were often considered scouts and could be shot.
A first sergeant serving in the Mechanized Infantry in Deir al-Balah in Gaza told the group, “If we don’t see someone waving a white flag, screaming, ‘I give up’ or something — then he’s a threat and there’s authorization to open fire.”
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