There is one part [of the operation] that includes an ‘accompanying screen’ – the firing of artillery shells before the forces arrive. You notify the [Palestinian] residents, throw leaflets – whoever fled, fled – and then you fire. I’m talking about a pretty massive use of fire. The artillery, its purpose is to allow our forces to enter without being hurt. Any place that has been identified by intelligence, or is an open area, gets hit with artillery. But if you check to see how many open areas exist in Gaza, there aren’t so many. We’re talking now about artillery, but the air force attacked endlessly. There’s targeted fire, but what kind of collateral damage is caused by such targeted fire? The air force knows how to take down one house that’s inside a neighborhood, but that doesn’t mean all the houses around it don’t get damaged. It’s not like the houses in the [Gaza] Strip are all new and protected with bomb shelters. In the end, these houses get damaged again and again and again, until they collapse. According to intelligence reports and military communications, you’re talking about a situation in which all the houses are classified as some type of hostile location. Are all the houses really hostile locations? I don’t know. Is it really possible to isolate one house inside a neighborhood that’s just blocks upon blocks? I don’t know. I do know that the practical result was flattened areas where houses had once stood. Did you see any ‘before and after’ aerial photos?
Sure. Neighborhoods erased. You know what joke was being told in the army at the time? The joke says that Palestinians only sing the chorus because they have no verses [houses] left (in Hebrew, the word for verse is the same as the word for house.)