Democracy Now: "Kill Anything": Israeli Soldiers Say Gaza Atrocities Came from Orders for Indiscriminate Fire
Extract: AMY GOODMAN: In a video made by Breaking the Silence, a first sergeant in the Israeli military, his voice distorted, describes how a commander told him, "There are no innocent civilians," and to assume anyone within 200 or 400 meters of the Israeli Defense Forces was an enemy. ’
IDF FIRST SERGEANT: [translated] The commander announced, "Folks, tomorrow we enter. I want you to be determined, task-oriented and confident. The entire nation is behind you"—the usual speeches. And then he spoke about the rules of engagement. And I quote: "The rules of engagement are: Any person at a distance that could put you at risk, you kill him with no need for clearance." Meaning, anyone at a distance of 200, 300, 400 meters from us, isn’t an ordinary civilian. According to IDF logic, he must be there for a reason, because an ordinary civilian would flee the area, and so, we must kill him with no need for clearance. For me, it was just spine-tingling. I said to him, "Let me get this straight. Any person I see in the neighborhood where we’re headed, I spot him and kill him?" He said, "Yes. Any sane person who sees a tank battalion in his neighborhood will run away. If he sticks around, then he’s up to something. And if he’s up to something, it’s against you. So shoot him." So I tried to dig a little deeper and asked, "What if it’s an innocent civilian?" He said, "There are no innocent civilians. Your presumption should be that anyone within the area of battle, 200, 300, 400 meters from you, is your enemy."
Democracy Now: The Untold Story of the Shejaiya Massacre in Gaza: A Former Israel Soldier Speaks Out
UAN GONZÁLEZ: The Israeli military says it has opened criminal probes into two of its most publicized killings of Palestinian civilians during the summer’s assault on Gaza. Investigators will examine the killing of four Palestinian children on a Gaza beach and a later attack that killed 14 people in a U.N. school, one of several that hit U.N. shelters. Over 2,100 Palestinians, more than 75 percent civilians, were killed in the Israeli assault. Critics say Israel is seeking to deflect international scrutiny, including a United Nations Human Rights Council probe and potential cases before the International Criminal Court. However, the Israeli army has not announced plans to investigate another notorious episode that occurred during its recent assault on Gaza. That’s the Shejaiya massacre in July, when nearly 90 Gazans and 13 Israeli soldiers were killed.
AMY GOODMAN: Shejaiya is one of Gaza’s poorest and most crowded neighborhoods. Activists with the International Solidarity Movement posted a video on YouTube showing the fatal shooting of an unarmed Palestinian civilian during the massacre. Family members later stumbled onto the video and identified the man as 23-year-old Salem Khaleel Shamaly. In the video, we see Shamaly lying on the ground, apparently wounded by an unseen sniper. As Shamaly tries to get to his feet, two more shots ring out. He stops moving.
Well, our next guest interviewed three of the Israeli soldiers who witnessed the killing of Salem Shamaly. His confidential sources within the IDF, the Israeli Defense Forces, reportedly informed him that the real reason for the recent IDF Shejaiya massacre was that IDF soldiers were deliberately targeting civilians as punishment and retribution for the deaths of fellow soldiers in their units. This former soldier is named Eran Efrati. He’s a former Israeli combat soldier turned anti-occupation activist and investigative researcher. Later this month, Efrati will testify at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in Brussels.
Part 2: Former Israeli Soldier Eran Efrati Speaks Out About Documenting IDF Abuse in Gaza, West Bank
Democracy Now: Has the World Abandoned Gaza? Region Remains in Ruins a Year After Deadly Israeli Assault
Democracy Now: Henry Siegman, Leading U.S. Jewish Voice for Peace: "Give Up on Netanyahu, Go to the United Nations"