‘I’m bored, so I shoot’: The Israeli army’s approval of free-for-all violence in Gaza

‘I’m bored, so I shoot’: The Israeli army’s approval of free-for-all violence in Gaza

+972 magazine reports:

In early June, Al Jazeera aired a series of disturbing videos revealing what it described as “summary executions”: Israeli soldiers shooting dead several Palestinians walking near the coastal road in the Gaza Strip, on three separate occasions. In each case, the Palestinians appeared unarmed and did not pose any imminent threat to the soldiers.

Such footage is rare, due to the severe constraints faced by journalists in the besieged enclave and the constant danger to their lives. But these executions, which did not appear to have any security rationale, are consistent with the testimonies of six Israeli soldiers who spoke to +972 Magazine and Local Call following their release from active duty in Gaza in recent months. Corroborating the testimonies of Palestinian eyewitnesses and doctors throughout the war, the soldiers described being authorized to open fire on Palestinians virtually at will, including civilians.

The six sources — all except one of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity — recounted how Israeli soldiers routinely executed Palestinian civilians simply because they entered an area that the military defined as a “no-go zone.” The testimonies paint a picture of a landscape littered with civilian corpses, which are left to rot or be eaten by stray animals; the army only hides them from view ahead of the arrival of international aid convoys, so that “images of people in advanced stages of decay don’t come out.” Two of the soldiers also testified to a systematic policy of setting Palestinian homes on fire after occupying them.

Several sources described how the ability to shoot without restrictions gave soldiers a way to blow off steam or relieve the dullness of their daily routine. “People want to experience the event [fully],” S., a reservist who served in northern Gaza, recalled. “I personally fired a few bullets for no reason, into the sea or at the sidewalk or an abandoned building. They report it as ‘normal fire,’ which is a codename for ‘I’m bored, so I shoot.’” [Continue reading…]

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