October 30 2009
The United Nations and much of the world media have blasted Israel for alleged war crimes during its incursion into the Gaza Strip in January, but one Israeli tank commander is mounting a spirited defense, using declassified video footage from Israel Defense Force drones and commercial media.
The video clips show the extraordinary efforts the IDF made to avoid civilian casualties, at times steering bombs away from their intended targets, because the target had moved into a crowd of civilians.
They also provide graphic testimony of war crimes committed by Hamas. In one scene, an armed Hamas fighter can be seen grabbing a child by the arm holding the child in front of him as he crossed the street.
“He knows that our snipers shoot them when they are in the open, crossing the street,” says Col. Ben-Tzion Gruber. “So they grab children as human shields. He knows we don’t shoot when there are children around.”
In another scene, a Hamas fighter can be seen launching a rocket from the roof of a house, and then calling in neighborhood children to serve as human shields so he can leave before Israeli jets bomb the house. In yet another, a Hamas fighter actually hides behind three children as he shoots at Israeli troops.
In a remarkable sequence filmed by The Associated Press on the ground in Gaza on the Palestinian side, armed Hamas fighters piled into an ambulance with the huge letters “UN” painted on its side as Israeli forces advanced into the street where they had prepared an ambush.
“How many Hamas terrorists will fit into a United Nations ambulance? Count them,” Gruber told an audience on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, as he pointed to the fighters and their weapons.
Seven armed fighters piled into the back of the ambulance, some of them carrying bulky antitank weapons.
Shortly after Hamas took over Gaz