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Text testimonies “This was one very stubborn family”
catalog number: 98867
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Infantry
Area: Northern Gaza strip
period: 2014
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“This was one very stubborn family”
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Infantry
Area: Northern Gaza strip
period: 2014

How do you get around on the street?The D9 (armored bulldozer) is in front; it opens up the area for you. It also takes down lots of tin sheds, just goes right over them. If there’s something or someone in there – it’s gone. No one was in there – at least no human, or no living human. You have cover all the time, and you cover problematic locations. That can usually be figured out via a field analysis, and usually there’s another platoon already covering problematic points. A tall building? Someone’s already firing at it. It could be a tank, or another platoon, it could be the air force – someone’s taking care of it. There’s shooting all the time. That’s absolutely pertinent: generating a stream of fire, generating fire all the time.Is the [tank’s] M16 being used the whole time?The more the merrier. What weapons? The tank, endless ammunition, and a crazy amount of firepower. Constantly. If not via the cannon, then via the tank’s heavy machine gun. Where is it shooting at?At everything, basically. At suspicious houses. What’s a ‘suspicious spot?’ Everything is a suspicious spot. This is Gaza, you’re firing at everything. You’ve got MAGs (machine guns) being fired, you have NEGEVs (light machine guns) being fired. A nearby house that looks suspicious can be blasted with a LAW (portable anti-tank rocket) while you’re advancing – another platoon can do it for you. A lot of fire from all the forces. It all forms one big cover and the truth is, you feel relatively protected.Did you see any bodies?I don’t remember. There were lots of dead animals, but I saw maybe one human body. This was basically an area devoid of people. We saw Gazan civilians only once, in daylight. They just came over, with their hands up. One Friday morning I saw a family going out to the street, their hands up, like in the movies. Right when we had just arrived. Eight or 9:00 AM in the morning. You could see them coming out – there was this more central area with no buildings in it – and they come out wearing white clothes and with their hands up. It’s funny seeing people with their hands up, no one does that in reality. You only see that in movies. There was something comic about it. One of the platoons sent a squad out to them, the squad went until it was about 30 meters from them. [The Palestinians] stopped in the middle of the intersection, got down on their knees and put their hands in the air. No one had gotten into any sort of contact with them. They hadn’t come out because someone had told them to, they just came out. The squad got there with a field interrogator, who called out in Arabic for the men to approach him. The men came, he spoke with them a little and then two of them went back with him. They said goodbye to their families – they would be going to the edge of Gaza, to the edge of the Bedouin neighborhood, north of us. Why did they part with the women?I assume for interrogation. The family started going south, to an area the IDF wasn’t in.How many people were there?Six.Did anyone offer an explanation as to how a family suddenly appeared in front of you?No. We didn’t discuss it. It was pretty weird because that was an area that had already been bombed and warned [that it would be bombed] the day before, and bombed and warned. This was one very stubborn family. And weren’t you worried that maybe there might be other families?No. Because it just seemed totally absurd to us. It didn’t seem at all logical that anyone would even consider sticking around there.