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Israeli soldiers talk about the occupied territories
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“From what we knew, that area was supposedly devoid of civilians”

testimony catalog number: 453039
area: Gaza strip
period: 2014

I remember in Shuja’iyya there was one time I needed to interpret an attack that took place on a building or something like that. I opened up the footage, and it was all scorched, burned to the ground. Entire streets where one building is half-destroyed, the next one totally destroyed, the next one half-destroyed. Entire streets that were totally shelled, and I needed to verify a certain target that had clearly been obliterated. I opened up the footage and saw that it was taken right after the strike had been carried out, and there were lots of people there, and lots of ambulances, and a whole lot of smoke and lots of commotion. And from what we knew, that area was supposedly devoid of civilians.

You said earlier that you did know the neighborhood was supposed to be empty of civilians?
Yes. That’s what they told us. They told us – maybe really so we wouldn’t think the IDF does immoral things – they told us the civilians had been informed via leaflets scattered in the area, and that it was supposed to be devoid of civilians, and civilians who remained there were civilians who apparently chose to be there.

Who told you that?
The commanders, in off-the-record type conversations, or during all kinds of briefings. Just so we’d know, for our general knowledge, that this is what’s going on. That there’s no civilians supposed to be there, and any who are – are there because they chose to be. In conversations between us it was summed up as, “There’s nothing we can do, war is war.” You don’t really talk about it – any discourse or opinions that are slightly ‘deviant’ are pretty much silenced. 

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