Who gave that order? The commander. “Anything you see in the neighborhoods you’re in, anything within a reasonable distance, say between zero and 200 meters – is dead on the spot. No authorization needed.” We asked him: “I see someone walking in the street, do I shoot him?” He said yes. “Why do I shoot him?” “Because he isn’t supposed to be there. Nobody, no sane civilian who isn’t a terrorist, has any business being within 200 meters of a tank. And if he places himself in such a situation, he is apparently up to something.” Every place you took over, anything you ‘sterilized,’ anything within a range of zero to 200 meters, 300 meters –that’s supposed to be a ‘sterilized’ area, from our perspective.
Did the commander discuss what happens if you run into civilians or uninvolved people? There are none. The working assumption states – and I want to stress that this is a quote of sorts: that anyone located in an IDF area, in areas the IDF took over – is not [considered] a civilian. That is the working assumption. We entered Gaza with that in mind, and with an insane amount of firepower. I don’t know if it was proportionate or not. I don’t claim to be a battalion commander or a general. But it reached a point where a single tank – and remember, there were 11 of those just where I was – fires between 20 and 30 shells per day. The two-way radio was crazy when we entered. There was one reservist tank company that positioned itself up on a hill and started firing. They fired lots – that company’s formal numbers stood at something like 150 shells per day. They fired, fired, fired. They started pounding things down two hours ahead [of the entrance].
What did they fire at? They were providing cover during the entrance [to the Gaza Strip]. They were shooting mostly at al-Bureij, which is a neighborhood with a dominant geographical vantage point, and is also a Hamas stronghold, according to what we were told. I don’t know exactly what they were firing at and what they were using, but I do know they were firing a lot, tearing down that neighborhood, tearing it down to a whole new level. About 150 shells per day.