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Israeli soldiers talk about the occupied territories
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“There’s no such thing there as a person who is uninvolved”

testimony catalog number: 132517
rank: First Sergeant
unit: Mechanized Infantry
area: Deir al-Balah area
period: 2014

The rules of engagement are pretty identical: 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. In the event that we arrest and restrain him, then one strips him to make sure there is no explosive device on him.

To get authorization to open fire, does he need to be armed, or with binoculars?
I think he just needs to be there.

When you say open fire, what does that mean?
Shooting to kill. This is combat in an urban area, we’re in a war zone. The saying was: ‘There’s no such thing there as a person who is uninvolved.’ In that situation, anyone there is involved. Everything is dangerous; there were no special intelligence warnings such as some person, or some white vehicle arriving… No vehicle is supposed to be there – if there is one, we shoot at it. Anything that’s not ‘sterile’ is suspect. There was an intelligence warning about animals. If a suspicious animal comes near, shoot it. In practice, we didn’t do that. We had arguments about whether or not to do it. But that was just a general instruction; in practice you learn to recognize the animals because they are the only ones wandering around.

During the period that you were there, did you see an armed Palestinian?
Nothing, I didn’t see a single living human being, except for the guys in my platoon and a few from the Armored Corps. 

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