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  • Destruction in Gaza after Operation Protective Edge

    Destruction in Gaza after Operation Protective Edge

Published 5 May 2015

In their report, Breaking the Silence said the rules of engagement were "the most permissive" they had ever heard.

An Israeli rights group published on Monday a 275-report that documented the atrocities committed by the Israeli army during its attack on Gaza Strip last summer.

Breaking The Silence, an Israeli organization of veteran combatants who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada, collected the testimonies of dozens of soldiers who served during the 50-day war on Gaza.

"A troubling picture arises of a policy of indiscriminate fire that led to the deaths of innocent civilians," the group's director Yuli Novak said. Soldiers in the report were only identified by their ranks and the army branch they served in to protect their identities.

“The rules of engagement for soldiers advancing on the ground were open fire, open fire everywhere, first thing as you go in,” One soldier was quoted as saying in the report. “The assumption being that the moment we went in [to the Gaza Strip], anyone who dared poke his head out was a terrorist. And it pretty much stayed that way throughout the operation.”

The war on Gaza claimed the lives of more than 2,250 Palestinians, of which 1,500 were civilians, including more than 500 children. More than 18,000 homes were destroyed. On the Israeli side only 66 soldiers and six civilians were killed.

RELATED: Starting The Clock: The Gaza Crisis

Another soldier described the systemic destruction of the houses in Gaza strip, which is believed to be one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

“The air force knows how to take down one house that׳s inside a neighborhood, but that does not mean all the houses around it don’t get damaged. It׳s not like the houses in the [Gaza] Strip are all new and protected with bomb shelters. In the end, these houses get damaged again and again and again, until they collapse.”

Breaking the Silence said the rules of engagement were "the most permissive" they had ever heard. The report indicated that the testimonies showed the inconsistency between what the Israeli government told the public verses what really took place on the ground.

The report added that the official military orders allow for fire only after identifying a weapon, intent, and the enemy’s realistic capability, something that the testimonies significantly contradicted.

“The (Israeli) public must know what missions its sons are being sent to carry out, and according to which norms the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) acts in its name,” Novak told the Middle East Eye website.

A United Nations report last week found Israel responsible for targeting U.N.-run schools seven times last summer, attacks that resulted in the killings of many Palestinians who took refuge there. 

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