You couldn’t make it up (unless you are an Israeli) Israel Blames Arabs for Lack of Progress of Nuclear-Free Middle East

Israel Blames Arabs for Lack of Progress of Nuclear-Free Middle East

In 2010, the Obama Administration endorsed, then immediately condemned the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) calls for a nuclear-free Middle East, realizing after the agreement that Israel is the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East.

Fast-forward five years, and there still hasn’t been a meeting on the matter. The big obstacle is that Israel, which is not a signatory to the NPT, is willing to attend the talks but not willing to even broach the subject of disarmament, citing the fact that they’re never publicly admitted to their significant arsenal in the first place.

Israel, of course, is blaming the Arabs for all this, saying the lack of talks underscores the fact that the Arab states, none of whom is a nuclear power to begin with, is even willing to sit down and talk with the nuclear-armed Israelis.

Israel’s status at the meeting did indeed loom large, and was a big part of why the talks never took place, though it was the fact that there was no hope of getting the only nuclear-armed nation to disarm that really soured most nations on the talks, figuring there was no point in the absence of that as at least a speculative goal.

Indeed, all these same nations routinely work with Israel on efforts to detect illegal underground nuclear testing as part of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. In that case, unlike this one, there was hope of actually accomplishing thing, however.

And that’s been the fatal flaw in the push for a nuclear-free Middle East from the moment the US ill-conceivedly endorsed it way back in 2010. They believe it’s “unfair” to single out Israel for disarmament, but Israel is the only state in the region with such arms to begin with, meaning efforts to orchestrate such talks always boil down to Israel insisting it is being mistreated and the US agreeing.

 

 

Israel apparently has no regrets over their genocide in Gaza in 2014, threatens even greater civilian casualties next time

Israeli Commander: Civilian Toll Will Be Even Higher in Next Gaza War

Insists Hamas Tactics Require Change to Rules of War

Amid talk of Israeli soldiers ordered to deliberately murder Gaza civilians, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, Israeli Army commander during last summer’s invasion, talked up an even bigger civilian toll next time.

It’s going to be worse next time,” Gantz said, insisting that Hamas’ tactics require a dramatic change to the “rules of war” and that Israel will have to attack civilians knowing Hamas is likely hiding behind them.

Gantz presented this with the claim that four-year-old Daniel Tragerman, one of the few israeli civilians killed during the war, was killed by a mortar fired from a UN building. He provided no evidence to back this claim up.

The allegations of fire from a UN site reflect the IDF’s attempts to try to weasel their way out of UN complaints about the deliberate attacking of other UN sites, which the Israelis knew to be full of civilian refugees they had ordered from their homes.

Gantz went on to insist that there needs to be a dramatic rethink to international law to “limit the bad guys” without limiting the ability of Israel and other countries to attack civilians during conflicts.

Saudi doing everything possible to stop humanitarian aid reaching Yemen

Aid Groups ‘Alarmed’ by Saudi Attacks on Yemen Airports

Yemen: ICRC and MSF alarmed by attacks on country’s lifelines

Sana’a/Geneva – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) are extremely concerned about the severe damage caused by recent Coalition attacks on airports in Sana’a and Hodeida, obstructing delivery of much needed humanitarian assistance and movement of humanitarian personnel.

“Yemen depends almost completely on imports of food and medication especially for the treatment of chronic diseases”, says Cedric Schweizer who heads a team of 250 ICRC staff in Yemen. “Sana’a airport was an essential civilian infrastructure, and the main lifeline to supply essential humanitarian goods and services. The harsh restrictions on importations imposed by the Coalition for the past 6 weeks, added to the extreme fuel shortages, have made the daily lives of Yemenis unbearable, and their suffering immense”, Mr. Schweizer added.

The disruption of the key logistic infrastructure, including airports, sea ports, bridges and roads are having alarming consequences on the civilian population, and the humanitarian situation has now become catastrophic. Checkpoints by the different armed factions have obstructed the delivery of urgent medical supplies to hospitals and have prevented patients and wounded to access essential healthcare.

“The current conflict has already caused extreme hardship for the population across the country”, said Marie Elisabeth Ingres, who heads the MSF mission in Yemen. “The destruction of the Sana’a runway means that countless lives are now more at risk, and we can no longer afford to stand and watch as people are forced to drink unsafe water and children die of preventable causes”, Ms. Ingres added.

MSF and ICRC demand that robust and unobstructed channels for the provision of humanitarian assistance are opened and respected by all parties to the conflict in this increasingly desperate situation. We call for an end to attacks on these vital lifelines and for the Yemeni civil aviation authority to be given the chance to repair the airports, so that humanitarian assistance can be sent to Yemen.

Saudi’s long history of atrocities, genocide & barbarity

Al Saud: Kingdom of Slaughter, Destruction and Fear http://www.almanar.com.lb/english/adetails.php?eid=207250&cid=23&fromval=1&frid=23&seccatid=28&s1=1
Israa Al-Fass

 

Al Saud

Remembering the Wahhabi forces has always been associated with remembering the criminal practices of their ancestors since the political deal between Mohammad bin Saud and Mohammad bin Abdul Wahhab, which stated that the first must protect the ideology of the second in order for it to spread, while the second gives legitimacy to the rule of the first. This political deal is still in practice until today, Al Saud is leading the political scene in the kingdom while the religious leadership is under the control of Mohammad Bin Abdul Wahhab’s sons.

In April, 1802, Saud bin Mohammad’s (grandfather of Abdul Aziz) Army invaded Karbala  and slaughtered 4,000 Muslim Shiites, despoiling the holy shrines, “including that of Martyr Hussein, grandson of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). After despoiling the city, the Wahhabis left, taking with them precious spoils which included swords inlaid with jewels, guns, golden jewelry and Persian carpets, which they carried on the backs of 4,000 camels,” according to American author Dore Gold.

In parallel, Catalan orientalist known as “Ali Bey Al-Abbasi” records that the invaders of Karbala had passed the swords on the necks of men and young boys of all ages.

Dore Gold quotes another Western source as saying that they ripped up the stomachs of pregnant women and left the embryos over the bodies of their mothers, “for their savageness did not quench their thirst, so they did not stop murdering.”

In the next year, Holy Mecca fell in the hands of the Wahhabi Army under the leadership of Saud bin Mohammad who demanded “the razing of all the mosques and hermitages dedicated for the revival of the prophet and Ahlul Beit”.

They razed “the hermitages of the companions… the army razed the hermitage in Al-Nour Mount where Gabriel sent down the revelation to Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). Moreover, the Wahhabis appointed a guard on the mountain to prevent pilgrims from praying on its top. It was a prayer which pilgrims performed in the spot where Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) used to meditate and worship God.”

The author documents what took place in Taef later on, when the Wahhabis “passed their swords on everyone they met, without separating between men, women, or children, and did not hesitate to tear up the innocent people into pieces while they were in their beds and homes.”

Gold adds that: “In Medina, the Wahhabis applied their religious ideology which demanded razing tombs. They tried to raze the fancy domes over the tomb of the prophet, and the Wahhabi invaders took away all the precious items in the tomb and despoiled the treasure of the prophet’s mosque.

This is what the grandson of the establisher of the third Saudi state – Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud, known as Ibn Saud – did. So, what did history record about practices throughout his rule?

Eldon Ratter, an English who converted to Islam, narrates the changes he had witnessed after the Wahhabis came. On that day, Ratter visited “the birthplace of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), and it was a spot in the pious shrines, like a small mosque with a dome and a small hermitage.”

When he mentions the changes, he says: “The Wahhabis have destroyed the dome of this structure and its hermitage, and they removed the curtains and other decorations… Today, every time the prophet’s birthday is mentioned among people of Mecca, their faces turn gloomy and they begin cursing the people of Najd (because Al Saud are from Najd).

Wahhabi fighters’ practices built fear among people from the control of Ibn Saud over the holy cities of Muslims. Back then, India, which used to be the largest Islamic country, demanded internationalizing Hijaz, specifically its holy cities, according to Dore Gold’s book “Hatred’s Kingdom, How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism”.

The concern in the Islamic world emerged after Muslims halted traveling to perform pilgrimage out of fear of being offended by the Wahhabis, since the latter believe that they get closer to Allah by killing Muslims who disagree with them.

In 1926, and four years before taking over Al-Azhar Sheikhdom,  Sheikh Mohammad Al-Ahmadi Al-Zawahiri headed the Egyptian delegation to the World Muslim Congress which Abdul Aziz called for, and gave confidence to Muslims just for the sake of maintaining his position in Mecca. Sheikh Al-Zawahiri says that the delegates who attended Mecca congress: “Were all against the government of Ibn Saud and the Wahhabis in Hijaz, and even the minority who supported Wahhabism, when they arrived to Mecca and witnessed the changes, they were disappointed… in reference to the razing of the companions’ tombs and the holy city’s features.

What did Zawahiri see in Mecca?Imam Mohammad Ahmadi Al-Zawahiri

“It was prohibited to begin the prayers with the term “Prophet of Allah”, because this was considered (by Wahhabis) polytheism, and Allah should be the only one addressed during prayers. So in Mecca’s largest mosque, Zawahiri saw Wahhabis reprehending an Egyptian man and asking him: “Did you use O ‘Prophet of Allah’ in your prayer?” But out of fear, the Egyptian man denied it.

Zawahiri tried to pacify the scared Egyptian man that day and told him: “To be honest with you, I also begin my prayers with ‘O Prophet of Allah’.” In other words, the man, who later became one of the most significant religious figures in Egypt and the Islamic world, was also scared to pray freely in Mecca like any devout Muslim!

 

Translated by Sara Taha Moughnieh

This is what “lack of evidence” looks like when Jewish settlers (terrorists) shoot Palestinians

This is what “lack of evidence” looks like when Jewish settlers shoot Palestinians

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File photo IMEMC
By Yossi Gurvitz | Yesh Din | May 3, 2015

We see how seriously the prosecution takes its role when we realize it closed a file for lack of evidence — without so much as noticing the evidence.

The location was Qusra, a village in the Shiloh Valley; the date, September 16, 2011. Fathallah Mahmoud Muhammad Abu Rhoda went out with his three sons to pick figs. A short while after reaching their land, they noticed about 10 Israeli civilians standing around their water hole. The Palestinians demanded the Israelis leave the place; the interlopers refused. The residents of Qusra — a village that has already proven it can defend itself against marauders — began heading to the area. An argument ensued, and according to Abu Rhoda’s testimony to the police, three of the settlers (who were armed) opened fire on the Palestinians. One bullet hit Abu Rhoda in the thigh.

Of the three, two were armed with rifles and the other with a handgun. From the police testimony, we see that the handgun’s owner also sicked a dog on the Palestinians. The complainants managed to photograph some of their attackers, among them the handgun owner.

Four days after the incident, Abu Rhoda filed a complaint with the police. Almost three years later, on August 6, 2014, the prosecution informed us that it closed the case for lack of evidence. After a series of 14 phone calls, we managed to photocopy the case file on December 15, 2014 — more than four months after the case was closed. However, it was immediately apparent some of the material was missing. We continued requesting it until February 2015.

From the evidence we finally received, it turns out that there is more than enough evidence to indict the handgun owner, E. As previously mentioned, E. was identified by the Palestinians victims, and they even supplied the police with photos of him at the scene, which clearly show him holding a handgun in one hand and the dog in the other. The police picked up cartridges from the scene, and a ballistic fingerprinting – which took place on September 27, 2011 – found that one of the cartridges came from a 9mm Glock pistol (the others were fired from rifles.) E. was summoned for an investigation, invoked his right to remain silent, but admitted he owned a Glock. The gun was duly turned over to the police, which sent it to a ballistic fingerprinting. In February 2012 the police expert reached the conclusion that there is a match between the cartridges fired from E.’s handgun and the those that were examined on September 27.

In total, the following evidence was marshaled against E.:

A. He was identified and photographed by the complainants.

B. His handgun was identified as the one fired during the incident.

Despite the evidence, the police recommended that the case against E. be closed due to — get this — lack of evidence. The recommendation was accepted by the prosecution. Embarrassingly, the prosecution admitted this to us only in January 2015 — 10 months after it closed the case for lack of evidence. Only as a result of our request for more case files did the prosecution learn about the September 2011 memorandum, which identified the type of handgun owned by E. That is, when the prosecution decided to close the case for lack of evidence, it was lacking a major piece of evidence.

What about the two other shooters? I’m glad you asked. The police chased one of the suspects into the Esh Kodesh outpost, even so much as detaining him after he fled. However, despite the fact that the suspect fled arrest and refused to identify himself, there is no indication in the material we received from the police that any investigative action was taken against him. There is, for instance, no sign that he was even interrogated or gave testimony; he was detained, and immediately released.

The third suspect managed to flee in a vehicle and reach Esh Kodesh. The police identified the owner of the vehicle as well as another person who was with him in the car during the chase. But, lo and behold, the police neither bothered to interrogate them nor attempt to identify the third shooter.

This is how the police and the prosecution treat a violent incident, in which three Israeli civilians open fire on Palestinians who are on their own land. In a case that contains such clear forensic evidence, they managed, with extraordinary negligence, not to notice it. And in the other cases? They simply do not investigate.

In the beginning of March, our attorney Anu Deuel Lusky (briskly aided by Moriyah Shlomot) appealed the decision, asking the prosecution to bring E. to trial and conduct further investigations that would lead to the capture of the other two suspects. To quote the appeal:

“This appeal, in both its parts, raises a harsh and heavy feeling that both the police and the prosecution betrayed their duties as bodies entrusted with maintaining law and order. The current situation – in which the lives, bodies and property of Palestinians, considered protected persons by international law, can be harmed with impunity, both as a result of settler violence and as a result of law enforcement entities standing aside, not making the minimal effort to bring lawbreakers to justice – is intolerable, and undermines the rule of law.”

One wonders what is left of the rule of law after it has been so brazenly undermined.

Hopefully the ICC will be able to teach israel the basic concepts of International Humanitarian Law

Israeli soldier testimonies reveal ‘shoot to kill’ policy in Gaza war

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Testimonies from over 60 Israeli soldiers and officers who fought during last summer’s war in the Gaza Strip were released to the public Monday, raising serious concerns over whether Israel’s military adhered to the most basic principles of International Humanitarian Law.
The testimonies — collected by Israeli military watchdog Breaking the Silence — tell accounts of indiscriminate fire in civilian areas, orders to regard every individual inside of Gaza as a “threat,” and the shelling of buildings in revenge without any military objective.
Many soldiers testified that they received orders to “shoot to kill” every person on sight, the group said, while others reported being ordered to shoot from the ground and air in order to”demonstrate presence” in a given area of military activity.
“From the testimonies given by the officers and soldiers, a troubling picture arises of a policy of indiscriminate fire that led to the deaths of innocent civilians,” Director of Breaking the Silence, Yuli Novak, said.
“We learn from the testimonies that there is a broad ethical failure in the IDF’s rules of engagement, and that this failure comes from the top of the chain of command, and is not merely the result of outlying incidents.”
A London-based NGO reported last month that Israel’s military launched a record 19,000 high-explosive artillery shells in the Gaza war, representing a 533 percent increase in the use of artillery explosives compared to Operation Cast Lead, and averaging around 680 shells each day of the conflict.
In addition to the frequency and quantity of use, safety zones to limit the damage of artillery shells were woefully lacking, and in some testimonies it is clear that deadly explosives were used as a form of revenge.
In one incident, a staff Sergeant in the Armored Corps ordered his soldiers to”fire like they do at funerals, but with shells and at houses,” following the death of a fellow commander.
“It wasn’t [firing] in the air,” the soldier said in the interview, “You just chose [where to fire]. The tank commander said, ‘Choose the house that’s furthest away, it will hurt them the most.’ It was a type of revenge. “While military activities were to take place in areas cleared of civilians, the testimonies showed that Israeli soldiers were given misleading information throughout the 50-day offensive, frequently entering areas in which innocent civilians, and sometimes even entire families, remained, the report said.
Israeli soldiers were also ordered to assume that civilians on the ground were “scouts” for Palestinian militant groups and should be killed on the spot, regardless of evidence that the individuals were aiding militant groups.
“Anything inside [the Gaza Strip] is a threat, the area has to be ‘sterilized,’ empty of people – and if we don’t see someone waving a white flag, screaming “I give up” or something – then he is a threat and there is authorization to open fire,” a Staff Sergeant based in the Deir al-Balah area said.
‘If you shoot someone in Gaza it’s cool, no big deal’
The failure to distinguish between civilians and combatants was a recurring theme in the testimonies of soldiers, with Breaking the Silence stating that a “very disconcerting picture” arises from the way Israeli soldiers were instructed to operate during combat.
“The idea was, if you spot something – shoot. They told us: ‘There aren’t supposed to be any civilians there. If you spot someone, shoot.’ Whether it posed a threat or not wasn’t a question, and that makes sense to me. If you shoot someone in Gaza it’s cool, no big deal. First of all, because it’s Gaza, and second, because that’s warfare,” a soldier in an infantry unit in northern Gaza said.
A Staff Sergeant based in northern Gaza during the conflict said that the working assumption relayed by their commander was that anyone located in areas where the Israeli military was operating was not to be considered a civilian.
“Anything you see in the neighborhoods you’re in, anything within a reasonable distance, say between zero and 200 meters – is dead on the spot. No authorization needed.
Every place you took over, anything you ‘sterilized,’ anything within a range of zero to 200 meters, 300 meters –that’s supposed to be a ‘sterilized’ area, from our perspective.”
Director of Breaking the Silence, Yuli Novak, said the group has called for the establishment of an external investigative committee to look into the policy behind the rules of engagement issued during the military operation and the “norms and values” that form the base of that policy.
The devastating testimonies provide further evidence to support claims that Israel committed war crimes during its military operation in Gaza, a charge made by Amnesty International, as well as other rights groups, last year.
A report by Amnesty in December pointed to the destruction of four multi-story buildings during the last four days of the 50-day war, which it said was “carried out deliberately and with no military justification.”
Months earlier, Human Rights Watch said in a statement that in three cases it examined, Israel caused “numerous civilian casualties in violation of the laws of war.”
The incidents were the separate shellings of two UN schools in northern Gaza on July 24 and 30, and a guided missile strike on another UN school in the southern city of Rafah on August 3.
“Two of the three attacks Human Rights Watch investigated… did not appear to target a military objective or were otherwise unlawfully indiscriminate. The third attack in Rafah was unlawfully disproportionate if not otherwise indiscriminate.””Unlawful attacks carried out willfully — that is, deliberately or recklessly — are war crimes,”
Last summer’s war between Israeli forces and Palestinian militant groups in Gaza left 2,200 Palestinians dead, mostly civilians, as well as 73 Israelis, 66 of which were soldiers killed in combat.

Samples of Israeli Horrific Brutality and War Criminality in Gaza

Samples of Israeli Horrific Brutality and War Criminality in Gaza Featured photo - Samples of Israeli Horrific Brutality and War Criminality in Gaza

 https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/05/04/samples-israeli-horrific-brutality-war-criminality-gaza/
The Israeli group Breaking the Silence issued a report this morning containing testimony from Israeli soldiers about the savagery and criminality committed by the Israeli military during the attack on Gaza last summer. The Independent has a good article describing the report’s findings: “The Israeli military deliberately pounded civilian areas in the Gaza Strip with incessant fire of inaccurate ordinance” and “was at best indifferent about casualties among the Palestinian population.” At best. This should surprise nobody who paid any attention to the brutal Israeli destruction of Gaza or, for that matter, countless Israeli attacks before that. The U.N. has said that 7 out of 10 people killed by the Israelis were civilians, “including 1,462 civilians, among them 495 children and 253 women”; video of Israelis killing four Gazan boys as they played on a beach sickened anyone decent. Nonetheless, reading the accounts from these Israeli soldiers is revolting and important in equal parts. It shines considerable light on the reality of what Israeli loyalists have long hailed as “the most moral army in the world,” one unfairly held to a difference standard that ignores their great “restraint.” The Intercept has chosen some selected, representative excerpts from the report, with the rank of the testifying soldier indicated (each one was granted anonymity by the report’s organizers). This is the savage occupying force known as the Israeli Defense Forces: “Whoever you see there, you kill” Staff Sargent, Armored Corps:

[A]fter 48 hours during which no one shoots at you and they’re like ghosts, unseen, their presence unfelt – except once in a while the sound of one shot fired over the course of an entire day – you come to realize the situation is under control. And that’s when my difficulty there started, because the formal rules of engagement – I don’t know if for all soldiers – were, “Anything still there is as good as dead. Anything you see moving in the neighborhoods you’re in is not supposed to be there. The [Palestinian] civilians know they are not supposed to be there. Therefore whoever you see there, you kill. . . .  The commander [gave that order]. “Anything you see in the neighborhoods you’re in, anything within a reasonable distance, say between zero and 200 meters – is dead on the spot. No authorization needed.” We asked him: “I see someone walking in the street, do I shoot him?” He said yes. Did the commander discuss what happens if you run into civilians or uninvolved people? There are none. The working assumption states – and I want to stress that this is a quote of sorts: that anyone located in an IDF area, in areas the IDF took over – is not [considered] a civilian. That is the working assumption. We entered Gaza with that in mind, and with an insane amount of firepower.

Shot a “grandpa” while he lay wounded on the ground Staff Sargent, Infantry:

We were in a house with the reconnaissance platoon, and there was some soldier stationed at the guard post. We were instructed [during the briefings] that whoever’s in the area is dangerous, is suspect . . . . A soldier who was in one of the posts saw an old [Palestinian] man approaching, so he shouted that some old man was getting near. He didn’t shoot at him – he fired near him. What I know, because I checked this, is that one of the other soldiers shot that grandpa twice. . . . I went up to a window to see what was going on out there, and I saw there was an old man lying on the ground, he was shot in his leg and he was wounded. It was horrible, the wound was horrible, and he looked either dead or unconscious to me. . . . . And then after that, some guy from the company went out and shot that man again, and that, for me, was the last straw. I don’t think there was a single guy in my platoon who wasn’t shocked by that. It’s not like we’re a bunch of leftists, but – why? Like, what the hell, why did you have to shoot him again? One of the problems in this story is that there was no inquiry into it, at least none that I know of.

“Any person you run into: shoot to kill” Staff Sargent, Engineering Corps:

They warned us, they told us that after a ceasefire the population might return . . . . The instructions were to open fire. They said, “No one is supposed to be in the area in which you will be” . . . . [W]e asked, “Will the civilian population return? What will the situation look like now when we go in [to the Gaza Strip] again?” And they said, “You aren’t supposed to encounter the civilian population, no one is supposed to be in the area in which you’ll be. Which means that anyone you do run into is [to be regarded as] a terrorist.” The instructions are to shoot right away. Whoever you spot – be they armed or unarmed, no matter what. The instructions are very clear. Any person you run into, that you see with your eyes – shoot to kill. It’s an explicit instruction. No incrimination process is necessary? Zero. Nothing.

Used tanks to crush Palestinians’ cars purely for “fun” Staff Sargent, Armored Corps:

During the entire operation the [tank] drivers had this thing of wanting to run over cars – because the driver, he can’t fire. He doesn’t have any weapon, he doesn’t get to experience the fun in its entirety, he just drives forward, backward, right, left. And they had this sort of crazy urge to run over a car. . . . I mean, a car that’s in the street, a Palestinian car, obviously. And there was one time that my [tank’s] driver, a slightly hyperactive guy, managed to convince the tank’s officer to run over a car, and it was really not that exciting– you don’t even notice you’re going over a car, you don’t feel anything – we just said on the two-way radio: “We ran over the car. How was it?” And it was cool, but we really didn’t feel anything. . . . So he came back in, and right then the officer had just gone out or something, so he sort of whispered to me over the earphones: “I scored some sunglasses from the car.” And after that, he went over and told the officer about it too, that moron, and the officer scolded him: “What, how could you do such a thing? I’m considering punishing you,” but in the end nothing happened, he kept the sunglasses, and he wasn’t too harshly scolded, it was all OK, and it turned out that a few of the other company’s tanks ran over cars, too.

“The citizens of Gaza, I really don’t give a fuck about them” Staff Sargent, Infantry:

It was during our first Sabbath. Earlier that day one of the companies was hit by a few anti-tank missiles. The unit went to raid the area from which they were fired, so the guys who stayed behind automatically cared less about civilians. I remember telling myself that right now, the citizens of Gaza, I really don’t give a fuck about them. They don’t deserve anything – and if they deserve something it’s either to be badly wounded or killed. . . .  So this old man came over, and the guy manning the post – I don’t know what was going through his head – he saw this civilian, and he fired at him, and he didn’t get a good hit. The civilian was laying there, writhing in pain. We all remembered that story going around, so none of the paramedics wanted to go treat him. It was clear to everyone that one of two things was going to happen: Either we let him die slowly, or we put him out of his misery. Eventually, we put him out of his misery, and a D9 (armored bulldozer) came over and dropped a mound of rubble on him and that was the end of it. In order to avoid having to deal with the question of whether he was booby-trapped or not – because that really didn’t interest anyone at that moment – the D9 came over, dropped a pile of rubble on his body and that was it. Everyone knew that under that pile there was the guy’s corpse. . . . . What came up during the investigation when the company commander asked the soldier, was that the soldier spotted a man in his late 60s, early 70s approaching the house. They were stationed in a tall house, with a good vantage point. The soldier spotted that guy going in his direction, toward his post. So he shot in the direction of his feet at the beginning. And he said the old man kept getting closer to the house so he shot a bullet beneath his left ribs. Kidney, liver, I don’t know what’s in there. A spot you don’t want to be hit by a bullet. That old man took the bullet, lay down on the ground, then a friend of that soldier came over and also shot the man, while he was already down. For the hell of it, he shot two more bullets at his legs. Meanwhile there was a talk with the commander, and because this was happening amidst a battalion offensive, it really didn’t interest anyone. “We have casualties up front, don’t bother us, do what you need to do.”

Shelling and machine-gunning “every house we passed” – then taking them over and using them Staff Sargent, Engineering Corps:

I got the impression that every house we passed on our way got hit by a shell – and houses farther away too. It was methodical. There was no threat. It’s possible we were being shot at, but I truly wouldn’t have heard it if we were because that whole time the tanks’ Raphael OWS (machine guns operated from within the tanks) were being fired constantly. They were spraying every house with machine gun fire the whole time. . . . [D]uring our walk there was no sign of any face-off or anything. There was a lot of shooting, but only from us. How is the sweeping of a house conducted, when you enter it? We would go in ‘wet’ (using live fire). I could hear the shooting, everything was done ‘wet.’ When we entered this house everything inside it was already a mess. Anything that could shatter had been shattered, because everything had been shot at. Anything made of glass – windows, a glass table, picture frames – it was all wrecked. All the beds were turned over, the rugs, the mattresses. Soldiers would take a rug to sleep on, a mattress, a pillow. There was no water, so youcouldn’t use the toilet. So we would shit in their bathtub.

“By the time we got out of there, everything was like a sandbox” Staff Sargent, Mechanized Infantry:

By the time we got out of there, it was all like a sandbox. Every house we left – and we went through three or four houses – a D9 (armored bulldozer) came over and flattened it. . . . First of all, it’s impressive seeing a D9 take down a big two-story house. We were in the area of a fairly rich, rural neighborhood – very impressive houses. We were in one spot where there was a house with a children’s residence unit next door – just like in a well-off Moshav (a type of rural town) in Israel. The D9 would simply go in, take down part of the wall and then continue, take down another part of the wall, and leave only the columns intact. At a certain point it would push a pile of sand to create a mound of rubble and bring down other parts, until the house was eventually left stripped, and from that point it would simply hit the house [with its blade] until it collapsed. The D9 was an important working tool. It was working nearly non-stop.

Randomly obliterating homes with no warning, for revenge Staff Sargent, Armored Corps:

On the day the fellow from our company was killed, the commanders came up to us and told us what happened. Then they decided to fire an ‘honor barrage’ and fire three shells. They said, “This is in memory of ****.” That felt very out of line to me, very problematic. . . . A barrage of shells. They fired the way it’s done in funerals, but with shellfire and at houses. Not into the air. They just chose [a house] – the tank commander said, “Just pick the farthest one, so it does the most damage.” Revenge of sorts. So we fired at one of the houses. Really you just see a block of houses in front of you, so the distance doesn’t really matter.

Photo of smoke from an Israeli air strike rising over the Gaza Strip on July 14, 2014 at the Israeli-Gaza border. (Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)

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