They warned us, they told us that after a ceasefire the population might return, and then they repeated the story about the old man who asked for water (earlier in his testimony the testifier described a briefing in which an incident was described where an elderly Palestinian man asked soldiers for water and then threw grenades at the forces).
What were the instructions regarding [Palestinians] who return?
The instructions were to open fire. They said, “No one is supposed to be in the area in which you will be.”
During the ceasefire as well?
No, after the ceasefire. There was the first ceasefire that collapsed – I don’t remember anymore, there were lots of ceasefires. But after the first one there was that danger and we 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.” This was a topic we had serious discussions over back in the days of [Operation] ‘Pillar of Defense’ (the eight-day IDF operation in Gaza in 2012) We held entire debates on the topic of, ‘If when you run into someone while you are conducting a house sweep you shoot immediately without thinking.’
What was the commanders’ response?
A typical officer’s response was, “It’s a complicated situation, I realize a situation might arise in which innocent people get killed, but you cannot take that risk or put your comrades at risk, you must shoot without hesitation.” 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?
Is there any mention of [shooting] limits? Is 100 meters the limit, 200 meters?
Not at all. The only limits are the zone perimeters between IDF forces.
To avoid friendly fire?
- This testimony can also be read in Hebrew