Israeli Troops Ordered to “Cleanse” Gaza
Stunning new testimony from IDF troops sent into Gaza during Operation Cast Lead from Nurit Kedar’s film ‘Concrete':
Nurit Kedar’s film, Concrete, hears from Israeli soldiers who blame their military leaders for encouraging a “disproportionate” response to Hamas’s rockets.
They claim their commanders used to “psych up” soldiers before an operation so they were ready to shoot indiscriminately.
This is the first time Israeli soldiers have come forward publicly with claims which counter those of their bosses.
In a report first aired on Channel 4 News on Wednesday, 24-year-old tank commander Ohad remembers being told the night before the operation that the entry into Gaza was to be “disproportionate”.
Once into Gaza, he says his orders were unambiguous: “We needed to cleanse the neighbourhoods, the buildings, the area. It sounds really terrible to say “cleanse”, but those were the orders….I don’t want to make a mistake with the words.”
The IDF [Israel Defence Forces] has said its operational orders during the war emphasised “proportionality” and “humanity”.
The importance of minimising harm to civilians was made clear to soldiers, the IDF said at the time. By the end of the 22 day long operation some 1,400 Palestinians had been killed and large areas of Gaza razed. Ten Israeli soldiers and three Israeli civilians also died.
Israeli Embassy response:
“Unlike much of the region, the open society within Israel allows for all allegations such as these to be aired and investigated.
“Israel has already authorised over 100 separate investigations into the operation, five broader investigations, and close to 50 criminal investigations are also taking place.
“All this in the context of having to respond to over 12,000 missiles raining on our citizens – such an operation could unfortunately never be flawless given these circumstances.
“Our judicial process is renowned across the world for its independence. This is a country after all, which holds even the very top of society to account, as has been proven in recent days. This is Israel in the 21st Century, a flourishing democracy, thriving amongst a desert of tyranny in the Middle East.”
Interview with filmmaker Nurit Kedar:
Nurit Kedar’s other films include ‘One Shot’: