Thu, 19 Mar 2009 11:09:22 GMT
The soldiers who fought in the Gaza war told a post-operation conference that they had killed Palestinian civilians and intentionally destroyed their property under permissive rules of engagement.
"When we entered a house, we were supposed to bust down the door and start shooting inside and just go up story by story... I call that murder. Each story, if we identify a person, we shoot them. I asked myself - how is this reasonable?", an Israeli soldier said.
The testimonies includes killing of a Palestinian mother and her two children by an Israeli sharpshooter and the case of an elderly Palestinian woman who was killed as she was walking 100 meters (yards) from her home.
"We had taken over the house" and the family was released and told to go right. A mother and two children got confused and went left. "The sniper on the roof wasn't told that this was okay and that he shouldn't shoot", a soldier said.
"I don't know whether she was suspicious, not suspicious, I don't know her story. . . I do know that my officer sent people to the roof in order to take her out" It was cold-blooded murder."
Their testimony contradicts the Israel Defense Forces' claims that its troops had "observed a high level of moral behavior during the operation".
Tel Aviv launched Operation Cast Lead on the Gaza Strip on December 27. Three weeks of ensuing airstrikes and a ground incursion killed around 1,350 Palestinians and injured nearly 5,450 people - mostly civilians.
The carnage also inflicted more than $1.6 billion in damages on the Gazan economy.