In a series about the lax rules of engagement of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the Israeli newspaper Haaretz is currently publishing testimonies of Israeli soldiers who participated in the recent fighting in Gaza. The first story in today’s edition describes an incident of an IDF sharpshooter who mistakenly shot a Palestinian mother and her two children:
There was a house with a family inside …. We put them in a room. Later we left the house and another platoon entered it, and a few days after that there was an order to release the family (…)
The platoon commander let the family go and told them to go to the right. One mother and her two children didn’t understand and went to the left, but they forgot to tell the sharpshooter on the roof they had let them go and it was okay, and he should hold his fire and he … he did what he was supposed to, like he was following his orders.
(..) The sharpshooter saw a woman and children approaching him, closer than the lines he was told no one should pass. He shot them straight away. In any case, what happened is that in the end he killed them.
In response to the publication of the testimonies, the IDF today ordered an investigation into the alleged violations of the army’s rules of engagement.
We have previously criticized both Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters for endangering the lives of Palestinian civilians – including by using them as human shields.