It’s the two-year anniversary of Operation Cast Lead and for the first time Israeli soldiers are speaking publicly about their orders. In startling interviews they claim the IDF brutally targeted civilians.
These soldiers are laying bare the true extent of Israel’s cruelty in Gaza. Yet while many expected human rights abuse, the horrific attacks on civilians they speak about was worse than anyone imagined. “It sounds really terrible to say ‘cleanse’, but those were the orders”, says tank commander Ohad. Speaking candidly of the instructions they were given before their entry into Gaza, the soldiers accuse their leaders of a ‘disproportionate’ response, which aimed to target civilians. One soldier recalls being instructed to shell every house in a neighbourhood. Officers created an environment that encouraged indiscriminate killing. Soldiers even boasted to each other about the number of civilians they had killed. Yegev remembers being told, “I heard you killed two today, great!” Whilst the IDF have asserted that their operational orders focused on ‘humanity’, the soldiers recall how their leaders would ‘psych up’ the troops to encourage unprovoked violence. “The order was very clear – if a car came within 200 metres of me I could simply shoot a shell at it”.