Testimonies on IDF misconduct in Gaza keep rolling in
Testimonies follow Haaretz expose on army units adopting lax rules of engagement during Operation Cast Lead.
Further testimonies emerged this weekend of army units adopting lax rules of engagement during Operation Cast Lead. The reports followed Thursday's publication in Haaretz of soldiers' accounts of ethical violations in the Gaza offensive.
On Saturday, Channel 10 showed a documentary that included a security briefing by a company commander on the eve of the Gaza invasion.
"We're going to war," he told his soldiers. "We're not doing routine security work or anything like that. I want aggressiveness - if there's someone suspicious on the upper floor of a house, we'll shell it. If we have suspicions about a house, we'll take it down."
"There will be no hesitation," the commander continued. "If it's us or them, it'll be them. If someone approaches us unarmed, shoot in the air. If he keeps going, that man is dead. Nobody will deliberate - let the mistakes be over their lives, not ours."
A number of officers told Haaretz this weekend that the testimonies did not surprise them, as "anyone with eyes in his head knows that these things happened during the fighting in Gaza."
The soldiers who testified about misconduct "placed a very unpleasant mirror before us," said one officer.
"The chief of staff is deflecting discussion now," said another. "It's much easier to find the rotten apples, but there are many much more basic and deeper questions. It's not just an ethical issue, it's also a question of professionalism. The soldiers' accounts show there are professional difficulties in fighting in such complex territory - that we're just not doing it all that well."
"These aren't problems you can solve with the military advocate general or the chief educational officer," he said.