During the first night [of the operation] we entered a place called Juhar al-Dik, a kind of suburb. While shooting a massive amount of fire, we entered some orchards. Orchards pose the biggest threat to armored forces – defending ourselves was a very difficult task. [We fired] lots of little blasts toward suspicious places – at orchards, at the metal sheets that cover houses, at assorted concrete things – little blasts. A lot of machine gun fire, lots and lots. Once in a while shellfire – I fired two, I think, maybe three, at houses that slightly dominated us. Distances of 500 meters, or one kilometer. After our night-time entrance into the Gaza Strip, to [the village of] Juhar al-Dik, morning came – between 7:00 and 8:00 AM – and we saw that there wasn’t anything to do, and people started dozing off. All the vehicles were together in a sort of strange circle, a kind of parking formation, after we had taken over the neighborhood during the night. There was no threat and it was quiet, and then suddenly there’s this command on the two-way radio: “Guys, everyone form a row, facing the neighborhood of al-Bureij” – which was this neighborhood that could see us from far off – it had a view ofJuhar al-Dik, and that was higher than us. That is, they could see everything and we couldn’t see everything from where they were. They were higher than us, and they could dominate us in terms of both fire and vision. And [the commander] gives an order: “Guys, all the tanks in a row, firing positions, all together facing the neighborhood of al-Bureij, we’re commencing engagement.” ‘Engagement’ means everyone firing at once, a countdown, “3, 2, 1, fire.” I remember it, all the tanks were standing in a row, and I personally asked my commander: “Where are we firing at?” He told me: “Pick wherever you feel like it.” And later, during talks with the other guys – each one basically chose his own target, and the commander called it on the two-way radio, ‘Good morning al-Bureij.’ “We are carrying out, a ‘Good morning al-Bureij,’ guys” that was the quote. Basically to wake up the neighborhood, to show those guys that ‘the IDF is here,’ and to carry out deterrence. I remember that all the tanks were standing in a row, and we were too, I was the gunner, and I looked at some building, which was very tall, at the center of that neighborhood, and I asked my commander, “OK, where do I hit that building?” And we decided between us – “OK, if you feel like aiming a bit to the right, a bit to the left, a bit toward that window, a bit toward the floor, let’s do that.” And then the commander says on the radio: “3, 2, 1, fire.” And everyone fired shells wherever they wanted to, obviously. Nobody had opened fire at us – not before, not after, not during.
*In response to the publication of this testimony, the rightwing pro-occupation organization Ad Kan filed a defamation suit against us, together with two former soldiers who claim to have served in the unit described in the testimony. The defamation suit was filed against Breaking the Silence and a former soldier who the plaintiffs claim gave the testimony. They claim that the testimony is allegedly false and that events unfolded otherwise, and that what took place was legal. When we receive the official documents pertaining to the lawsuit we will publish them here.