A day after the release of a UN report demanding a probe into possible war crimes in Gaza, Israeli soldiers stood up to refute the allegations and tell of the extent of precautions taken to avoid civilian casualties.
During speeches on Tuesday in the plenum, MK’s quoted from testimony by members of the NGO “My Truth,” which defends the image of Israeli soldiers, The Jerusalem Post reported.
MK Yoav Kisch (Likud), an IAF pilot who initiated the move in the Knesset, himself testified that he always made sure there were no civilians in any target before attacking it. Several bombing runs were cancelled at the last moment due to concerns about the possibility of civilians in the target area, he said.
MK Eitan Cabel (Zionist Camp), who is also a reserve infantry soldier, said that “I never received or heard an order meant to harm civilians. We often received orders that put our lives in danger, in order to prevent harming civilians.”
“The IDF followed all the rules to clear areas of civilians, but Hamas cynically forced some to stay,” MK Danny Atar (Zionist Camp) said, reading testimony from a Golani soldier. “[Palestinians] were killed by explosives they didn’t know were there, that Hamas planted.
“We lost our element of surprise, the best of our sons, to make sure we wouldn’t kill civilians that the enemy used as human shields,” he added.
MK Merav Ben-Ari (Kulanu) read testimony by Dror Dagan, who was injured while arresting a terrorist, and listened from the visitors’ gallery, sitting in his wheelchair.
“When we burst into the house and quickly scanned the rooms, the wife of the terrorist, a senior Hamas member, fainted. As a medic, I did not hesitate and started taking care of her,” Dagan wrote. “Not two minutes passed and it turned out that it was a trap. It was all pretend, a trick to gain time so the suspects could get organized.”
“I was injured, because I was taught the values of the IDF, to take care of anyone who is injured, even if it is the wife of a terrorist,” Dagan added.