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Text testimonies “The lives of our soldiers come before the lives of enemy civilians”
catalog number: 332028
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Mechanized Infantry
Area: Gaza strip
period: 2014
categories:
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“The lives of our soldiers come before the lives of enemy civilians”
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Mechanized Infantry
Area: Gaza strip
period: 2014

[Combat engineering forces] blew up a lot of houses, even while we were there [in the Gaza Strip]. Here, too, the question arises about the operational benefit versus the cost. There are all kinds of considerations about why to blow up a house. One of them, for example, is when you want to defend some other house. If there’s a house blocking your field of vision, [and you want to] expose the area so that it’s easier to defend. Did you do that? We didn’t blow up the houses but yeah, the company did it, the battalion commander and company commander decide on it. Sometimes we blew up a house when we suspected there was an explosive device in it, but I think ultimately we blew up pretty much the entire neighborhood. There are other considerations as well: “Hamas could set up a lookout post there, so let’s blow up the house” or stuff like that. I think there was operational justification for blowing up houses – but the policy was a bit trigger-happy. There was this bumper sticker during the operation that said, ‘The lives of our soldiers come before the lives of enemy civilians.’ This was sort of the policy because all these things really help protect the lives of IDF soldiers, and so the question becomes, where is the line? Or in which cases do we risk the lives of IDF soldiers because of certain values, because of ethics? That’s a big question. If I, as a commander, need to take over house number 22 and on the way there there’s this little house number 21, and the D9 (armored bulldozer) can raze it so that it poses no risk to me… This wasn’t the choice I made, but that’s the way the scales were balanced. Either I don’t take it down and it keeps posing a risk, or…