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Text testimonies “We want to make a big boom before the ceasefire”
catalog number: 603892
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Engineering Corps
Area: Northern Gaza strip
period: 2014
categories:
1,075  views    0  comments
“We want to make a big boom before the ceasefire”
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Engineering Corps
Area: Northern Gaza strip
period: 2014

Before the first ceasefire they told us we were going in [to the Gaza Strip] to take down a house. We went down quick and got the gear we needed ready and then we asked, “Which house are we taking down?” And they said, “We want to make a big boom before the ceasefire.” Like that, those were the words the officer used, and it made everyone mad. I mean, whose house? They hadn’t picked a specific one – just ‘a’ house. That’s when everyone got uneasy. At that moment we decided pretty unanimously that we would go speak with the team commander and tell him we simply aren’t going to do it, that we aren’t willing to put ourselves at risk for no reason. He chose the most inappropriate words to describe to us what we were being asked to do. I guess that’s how it was conveyed to him. “We’re not willing to do it,” we told him. It was a very difficult conversation. Him being an officer, he said, “First of all, so it’s clear to everyone, we will be carrying this thing out tonight, and second, I’m going to go find out more details about the mission for you.” He returned a few hours later and said, “It’s an ‘active house' (being used by combatants for military purposes) and it’s necessary you take it down, and not someone else, because we can’t do it with jets – that would endanger other houses in the area, and that’s why you’re needed.” In the end the mission was miraculously transferred to a battalion with which we were supposed to go in, and we were let off the hook. After the ceasefire a bulldozer and emulsion trucks (transporting the explosive liquid) and the driller (a drilling system for identifying tunnels) came to our area, and work started on the tunnels in our zone. It took two nights. At that stage, we returned to pretty much the same area in which we were stationed before, and we didn’t recognize the neighborhood at all because half the houses were just gone. It all looked like a science fiction movie, with cows wandering in the streets – apparently a cowshed got busted or something – and serious levels of destruction everywhere, levels we hadn’t seen in [Operation] ‘Cast Lead.’ No houses.In Shuja’iyya too?Yes. Every house that’s standing – which of course no longer look like houses because each has a hole in it – at least one – from a shell. Bullet holes, everything riddled with holes. The minaret of a mosque over which we had previously provided cover fire was on the ground, everything was really in ruins. And non-stop fire all the time – I don’t know why they were shooting non-stop, maybe so that none of the population would return. During the whole period of work there was constant fire. Small arms fire in the background the whole time. In addition to the shelling.