Israeli military doctor reveals soldiers burn down homes in Gaza, loot, vandalize

Israeli military doctor reveals soldiers burn down homes in Gaza, loot, vandalize

Looting has become almost institutionalized, says one Israeli military doctor who served in Gaza. “Many felt that wearing the uniform of the Israeli army and crossing the border allowed them to cross all lines.”

by Rania Abu Shamala​​​​​​​, reposted from Andalou Agency, February 9, 2024

As Israel is already facing genocide charges in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Palestinians in Gaza, an Israeli military doctor made a shocking revelation that exposed the soldiers’ brutality in the besieged enclave, asserting to have witnessed the burning of people’s homes after looting everything inside, including small household items.

The Israeli military doctor who served in Gaza for two months revealed a shocking ordeal about Palestinians’ plight, which was published in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, detailing the Israeli army’s gross violations of international human rights law.

“The forces start intermittently burning houses, and the brigade commander says it’s okay for him, and the cumulative feeling is that they can do here in Gaza what they did in Hawara,” wrote Nahum Barnea, a senior analyst for Yedioth Ahronoth, in his article published on Friday, quoting the doctor.

Hawara is a Palestinian town near Nablus in the northern West Bank where many houses and vehicles were burned last year.

The doctor revealed that “looting has become almost institutionalized as he witnessed during his time in Gaza,” Barnea stated, presenting the literal text of a letter from a doctor in the reserve paratrooper brigade.

“It starts with seizing large quantities of mattresses, gas stoves, and gas cylinders from occupied houses, and continues with taking small souvenir gifts like tables, small toys for children.”

“Small and less disciplined forces looted phones, Dyson vacuum cleaners, motorcycles, and bicycles,” the doctor said.

“He recorded his impressions when he left there, and I quote his words verbatim,” said Barnea, without mentioning the doctor’s name.

Following the atrocities committed in the besieged enclave, Israel faces charges of “genocide” before the ICJ in The Hague for the first time in its history, which has received regional and international support except for opposition from the US.

“I will start with a subject that has not been addressed much, which is the values in combat, or – in my opinion – the values of Israeli society at the point of the test,” the doctor said.

Concerning these practices, the doctor said, “I felt ashamed, and at some point, I stopped commenting because I was seen as a troublemaker.”

The doctor also pointed out the Israeli army’s acts of sabotage.

“Morally, causing damage to houses that may pose a threat during the attack is justifiable; it is also justifiable to attack the surrounding area and destroy houses that threaten the operation axes. This is acceptable to me if it is defined as a military mission,” stated the doctor.

“The phenomenon of writing on walls, vandalism, and sabotage inside houses indicates a lack of discipline,” he stated, adding that “the political messages (sent by soldiers in video clips): There is almost no barrier to political messages – they are always right-wing and often extreme, and the leaders turn a blind eye.”

The military doctor’s letter detailed the execution of a prisoner, prompting the Israeli army to respond that “the military police will investigate the incident.”

He stated that “during the fighting, five ‘elite terrorists’ who surrendered were arrested, one with a broken ankle. I took care of him and received surprised looks and questions (from the soldiers), not because they were angry, but because they did not understand why I was treating him.”

“Two hundred meters away from us, their leader was arrested, suffering from fractures in his limbs, and after a moment of interrogation by a prisoner investigator, a reservist fighter arrived and executed the prisoner,” the doctor disclosed, noting that the execution was covered up.

He said, “I am not a peace advocate, and I fully support the use of great force when necessary, however, many felt that wearing the uniform of the Israeli army and crossing the border allowed them to cross all lines.”

The Israeli army responded to what was mentioned in the military doctor’s letter about the execution of a Palestinian prisoner: “The incident is under investigation by the military police, and after the investigation is completed, the results will be transferred to the military prosecutor’s office for examination.”

Barnea wrote, “These phenomena do not end in Gaza: Kibbutz members in the Gaza envelope say that the soldiers stationed inside the kibbutzim destroyed property and looted everything they could get their hands on (…) I heard about similar phenomena in the (Israeli) towns evacuated on the Lebanese border.”


Enter your email address below to receive our latest articles right in your inbox.