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Text testimonies No idea what you're going to hit
catalog number: 144962
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Armored Corps
Area: Nablus area
period: May 2003
categories:
454  views    0  comments
No idea what you're going to hit
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Armored Corps
Area: Nablus area
period: May 2003

We fired at a Molotov-cocktail thrower once and hit him. He was surrounded by a group of kids, and, to this day, we don't really know who we hit.

What was the story there?Nothing special. There were Molotovs hurled there.

At your tank?Yes, and the gunner detected a Molotov-cocktail thrower, but the officer took over the controls. He took over the coaxial machine-gun. They had some kind of a misunderstanding. Never mind, nothing special. They fired and missed. They missed him, I don't know who they hit, if they did. It all happened in an area. . .you've got to understand, it's not a battery, some fortified target where you know what you're aiming at. It all takes place in town. You have no idea of the exact stretch of your designated area, what you hit with every bullet you fire. You can't know; it's a city. Imagine a tank standing on Diezengoff (busy Tel Aviv street) and firing at a suspect. So, even if he really deserves to die, with a "mag"/machine-gun you have no idea what you're going to hit. There are lots of windows, a lot of innocent people.

And you don't know whether anyone was hurt in that group?It was not a specific group. There were kids there all the time. The whole town would come there.That was our game

?What were your orders about thisShoot to kill every time a Molotov-cocktail is hurled.

Before or after the throwing? As soon as he ignites the bottle.

After letting it go, too?Yes, if you identify him. That's it. All the rest, no. There were discussions among the guys, talks we had in our platoon, arguments among the officers: which is better? To kill or seriously wound him? Some officers thought it was better to wound him because he didn't deserve to die. Others claimed it was better to kill him so the State would not be obliged to pay reparations for…

Crippling?Yes, we are still not sure what the right thing was to do then.

But orders were to kill them?No, we're not sure what the orders were. They were always arguing with each other, the officers. I think our battalion commander once told us that if we see a Molotov-cocktail thrower, we should kill him and he'd take care of all the "red tape" involved. I don't recall if this was the battalion commander or deputy commander.

What did he mean by that?That he would back us up.

But if this was the order, then what's the problem?No, I'm saying the order was not unequivocal. On any command level. Bottom line, I don't think I'd have shot a Molotov-cocktail thrower. But you know what? Maybe I would have.