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Text testimonies “When you go in with a tank brigade, who cares about a mortar?”
catalog number: 677717
Unit: Infantry
Area: Northern Gaza strip
period: 2014
categories:
275  views    0  comments
“When you go in with a tank brigade, who cares about a mortar?”
Unit: Infantry
Area: Northern Gaza strip
period: 2014

It was a very difficult feeling. An APC was hit, two high ranking commanders were wounded. You want to hit them back, you want to hurt them, you want them to suffer. So getting authorization for [firing at] targets gets way easier. It felt like we could request for things to be bombed, and targets that wouldn’t be authorized two days ago would now be approved.

What sort of targets? Let’s put it this way – taking down a multi-story building, using artillery cannons in particular, that’s not a routine thing. This is generally not something that gets authorized, because before [the ground incursion], people were rational and reasonable with regard to combat procedure. But once the ground incursion started, regardless of the operational matters at hand, it became enough to say, “This looks a bit threatening to me,” or “I spoke with the commander and we made such-and-such a decision about that building,” and OK.

They authorized taking down the building? They authorized. What happened the night after the APC was hit (an incident in which seven IDF soldiers were killed by a rocket)? There were more bombings carried out. There was a set ritual for the bombings before the ground incursion: At 3:00 or 3:30 AM there’s an air force attack, which hits targets that aren’t bombed during the day. The bombings in the days that followed that incident were much more significant. And we retained the same mentality of bombardment as we advanced deeper inside Gaza, into more crowded areas. At 3:00, or 3:30 AM more targets get approved, there’s more activity, you can fire artillery cannons guns a bit to the side because they will be overshadowed by the air force bombings. You can add more targets because now you’re part of a large-scale offensive. It’s as if because now you’re entering with a tank brigade, firing mortars is totally fine – you’re going in with a tank brigade, so who cares about a mortar? So now when you go in with the all the firepower of F-16s and F-15s, laying down one-ton bombs and blowing up that hospital and all that, well, you can also fire a few mortars on the side while you’re at it.

What do you mean ‘on the side?’ There was an area out of which every two days [Palestinian militants] would shoot rockets – but it was also where their power station was, which generates electricity for an area where 200,000 people live. So take advantage and fire at the place – this one time you’ll get authorization, because there’s a surge in authorizations right now. When there’s a wave of air force strikes going on, you know that whoever is making the decisions is sitting in front of his map right now and marking ‘yes, yes, yes’ – it’s a larger offensive. When the offensive mentality goes large-scale, you can do things that fit a large-scale offensive.

Was any fire directed at power stations? Yes. Like the bombing of the Wafa Hospital. It grows and grows and grows and then they say, “OK, come on, let’s bomb it.” We woke up one morning and went, “Huh, they took it down.” And we marked another X on our list of optional targets.

Power stations were optional targets? They were. It’s a strategic site, an important site, you mark it as a target. When do you act against it? That depends how things develop, on the circumstances.