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May 6, 2015 11:29 am

Israeli Soldier Describes Hamas’ Immorality

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IDF soldiers find a terror tunnel in Gaza last July. Photo: IDF

Looking at more of the “Breaking the Silence” testimonies, here’s an example where the leftist group is trying hard to pretend that the IDF is doing something immoral – but in fact it is Hamas that is trying to get the IDF to kill civilians.

There was this mentally handicapped girl in the neighborhood, apparently, and the fact that shots were fired near her feet only made her laugh (earlier in his testimony the soldier described a practice of shooting near people’s feet in order to get them to distance themselves from the forces). She would keep getting closer and it was clear to everyone that she was mentally handicapped, so no one shot at her. No one knew how to deal with this situation. She wandered around the areas of the advance guard company and some other company – I assume she just wanted to return home, I assume she ran away from her parents, I don’t think they would have sent her there. It is possible that she was being taken advantage of – perhaps it was a show, I don’t know. I thought to myself that it was a show, and I admit that I really, really wanted to shoot her in the knees because I was convinced it was one. I was sure she was being sent by Hamas to test our alertness, to test our limits, to figure out how we respond to civilians.

Later they also let loose a flock of sheep on us, seven or ten of whom had bombs tied to their bellies from below.

I don’t know if I was right or wrong, but I was convinced that this girl was a test. Eventually, enough people fired shots near her feet for her to apparently get the message that ‘OK, maybe I shouldn’t be here,’ and she turned and walked away.

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The reason this happened is that earlier that day we heard about an old man who went in the direction of a house held by a different force; [the soldiers] didn’t really know what to do so they went up to him. This guy, 70 or 80 years old, turned out to be booby-trapped from head to toe. From that moment on the protocol was very, very clear: shoot toward the feet. And if they don’t go away, shoot to kill.

Here we see that the IDF soldiers held their fire even though there was a very real chance that the girl was booby-trapped, that Hamas had booby trapped sheep, and that Hamas had booby-trapped an old man.

But what is the headline that Breaking the Silence uses for this story?

“I really, really wanted to shoot her in the knees”

This shows quite clearly that BTS is not interested in showing the truth about the IDF, but that they are fishing for dirt to make it look bad.

In other cases the BTS interviewer tried very hard to get the soldier to denounce IDF’s rules of engagement:

There were cases in which families were apparently killed by fighter jet strikes. How do you explain that?
A lot of houses were hit, and some of those houses were also shared by occupants aside from [Hamas] militants. I think most of the families that were hurt were in cases like Shuja’iyya, (the testifier is referring to the artillery shot in the aftermath of the event in which seven IDF soldiers were killed when their APC was hit by a rocket) where the threshold for opening fire was more lax because forces were in immediate danger.

But the forces were operating in neighborhoods that were supposed to be uninhabited.
‘Supposed to be’ is one thing, but in reality there were people in there sometimes. In the urban areas of Rafah and Khuza’a, every other house was marked as ‘active’ (being used by militants). It was a real hornet’s nest in there, and they took down those houses systematically. ‘Roof knocking’ (a method by which a small missile is fired on the roof of a building as a warning shot to its residents that it is about to be struck) followed by a boom, ‘roof knocking,’ a boom. Despite the fact that no one was ‘supposed to be’ in there.

Showing that the IDF still tried to warn residents even in areas thatthey shouldn’t have been and that they were under active fire from Hamas!

But there are means of confirming that there aren’t any people [in the houses], so how did it happen that they got killed anyway?
We can’t know everything. We did everything we could in order to know. If the family had no phone and a ‘roof knocking’ was conducted, and after a few minutes no one came out, then the assumption was that there was no one there.

You were working under the assumption that once a ‘roof knocking’ was conducted everyone leaves the building immediately, and if nobody leaves it means there was no one inside?
People who are willing to sacrifice themselves, there’s nothing you can do. We have no way of knowing if there were people in there who decided not to get out.

But the bomb was dropped on the house?
Yes.

And say after a ‘roof knocking’ 10 people go up on the roof of the house?
Then you don’t strike the house.

And what if after a ‘roof knocking’ 10 people stay inside the living room?
If people were inside the house I didn’t know about it. But I don’t think that was taken into consideration [over whether or not to bomb the house].

Is it a requirement to make sure no civilians are in a structure before it’s attacked by a fighter jet?
It’s not obligatory. Say the target was [Hamas’] deputy battalion commander in Shuja’iyya, an attack would be launched if the number of civilians wasn’t too high. By too high, I mean a two-digit number.

Everything this soldier says isperfectly legal in the laws of armed conflict. What else could soldiers do to determine if civilians are in the house after leaflets, phone calls and roof-knocking? Should they ring the doorbell and ask politely to speak to the head of the household?

These examples show that Breaking the Silence is not a human rights organization. Its entire purpose is to demonize the IDF, to make it look bad even when it does nothing remotely wrong.

If only real reporters who know something about real wars would read these and write about it.

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  • Lynne T

    Which is just how far down the tubes Betsalem has come since the days when Bassem Eid left because he wanted to investigate human rights abuses perpetrated by Arafat’s thugs, not just complaints against Israel.

    And Betsalem gets loads of dough from the EU’s well endowed NGOs whereas Bassem is told “first, let’s get a Palestinian state and then we can worry about human rights [abuses by the PA and Hamas]” without a moment’s thought that the primary reason that Oslo’s intentions were never implemented is the way Arafat cultivated a culture of violence and rejectionism.

  • Paul

    I think Israel plays into the hands of unscrupulous terrorists by agreeing to their rules.

    Israel has massively superior fire-power, but is consistently the loser in these conflicts because we agree to TRY protect civilian lives while the enemy gains by sacrificing his own civilians. There ARE war crimes being committed here – by firing from civilian areas, targetting civilian targets, HAMAS is committing war crimes – but Israel always finds itself on the defensive because it didn’t do enough to prevent civilian losses.
    Israel should do 2 things:
    1) Get reliable foreign press to accompany our troops. That can be easily done by simply INVITING reliable reporters to accompany Israeli military. Like war correspondents. The newsmen are normally NOT biased or sitting in judgement – they just want to get the kudos for good reporting.
    2) Israel should stop trying to be holier than the Pope, and become impersonal. If a rocket comes over the border at Israel, Israel should bombard the area from which the rocket came, WITHOUT first checking if it was HAMAS, or someone else, or if it was fired from a civilian area – no army in the world does this or is required or expected to do so. The Reporter should document the fact that fire is being RETURNED at the sources of fire, which is permissible under international law. Israel may state that we assume there are no civilians there because we do not expect the enemy to commit war crimes by firing from civilian-populated areas. The reporters would document the fact that we were RETURNING fire, and if the other side says civilians were injured they are in fact admitting the fire was made from civilian areas.
    When we go to such efforts to avoid hurting civilians, we are indicating that we KNOW there are civilians there, and this places a moral problem on us. If we just return fire without checking, we cannot be faulted for not trying to bring into account the fact that the enemy is committing war crimes. It is NORMAL and PERMISSABLE to RETURN FIRE TO THE SOURCE.

    The reason so many civilians are killed in these conflicts is, because the cynical use of human shields by Hamas WORKS. This encourages Hamas to continue. The more civilians killed, the better for the HAMAS – because Israel gets the blame. Putting an end to this game plan will save the lives of the future poor bastards who are used as human targets by the Hamas, whose deaths are so beneficial to Hamas because Israel gets the blame.

  • Markus Elkana Brajtman

    NETANYAHU AND THE JEWISH ETHEOPEAN SOLDIER

    COULD THIS VIDEO BE TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH?

    THE WORLD SHOULD SEE AND UNDERSTAND THIS VIDEO

  • Le sujet est…inépuisable –
    Chacun prêche pour..sa chapelle !
    Le vainqueur n’est pas forcément le plus vertueux , simplement le plus fort…ou le plus chanceux –
    Une seule chose est certaine,la guerre n’est pas une “promenade de santé” !
    Le mieux est de l’éviter ! !
    Mais ça,c’est un autre sujet……….

  • On patrol in Jabalya, a small city in Gaza

    While patrolling a side street with 3 three other soldiers we had a group of 20 to 30, 7 to 8 year old Arab children following after us throwing mud and stones at us, never very accurately or forcefully. They would also as small children do, run close to us tempting us to catch them. They were very fast and we seldom caught them. When we did the sergeant would tell them in Arabic, ” You should be ashamed of yourself, why are you not in school”. I didn’t think he was bridging the culture gap.

    One afternoon while patrolling that same street, we had the normal bunch of kids behind us. We found it was far easier to ignore them rather then catch them. But, on that day we passed a coffee house were several male Arab adults were sitting. They saw what the children were doing and began to yell at them, the children yell back. This went back and forth several times an escalated to trading insults.

    Then the adults told us in Arabic and gestured to us to shoot the children. These children were related and known to these adults. After the patrol, I check with the sergeant, who spoke Arabic, not believing what I saw. He confirmed to me, that the adults had told us to shoot their children.

    I don’t understand how anyone can live peacefully next-door to neighbors like that.

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