Israeli soldiers appear on camera cheering on the destruction of Palestinian houses in Gaza in a video that surfaced Thursday.This is ridiculous, to put it mildly. None of the critics have the slightest idea why the houses were destroyed, but it is clear that the targets were known ahead of time and that they were either empty or had legitimate targets within. (And they were also mansions, not just houses, indicating that they might have had more than one purpose.)
The video, shot with a mobile phone during Israel's winter attack on Gaza, shows soldiers laughing and exclaiming as they witness a series of explosions destroying three Palestinian houses. Sporadic gunfire is heard in the background.
After the first two houses are destroyed, one soldier is heard remarking, according to the English subtitles, "It's all documented. It's all on camera. What about the third house? Give me the third house please [laughs]."
Later, after the third explosion, the same soldier is heard saying, "There’s nothing like this [laughs.] Bye, Gaza, bye. Wow, dude, what a thing!"
"How small are we. We're so small compared to this," he says, as the camera pans around to show the soldiers lying on the ground as they witness this destruction.
Almost certainly the buildings needed to be destroyed for a military objective. Maybe the land needed to be cleared for visibility, maybe it was to reduce the chance of an ambush. Either way, the context is missing from the Ma'an article and the YouTube description.
Explosions are inherently entertaining. People like fireworks, they like action movies with huge explosions, they like watching old buildings getting demolished. Blowing things up is fun for most men on the planet. The soldiers are not celebrating anyone's misfortune - they are happy that a military objective was met, spectacularly. And, indeed, these were really nice explosions.
I have never seen Ma'an show this level of disgust at Arabs handing out candy celebrating the deaths of children, or Arab leaders praising child murderer Samir Kuntar.
To expect IDF soldiers to be humorless when doing a job is just another double standard that is not demanded of any army in the world. There was nothing immoral shown in this video unless you believe that Israeli soldiers are inherently immoral a priori.