An engineer corps soldier who took part in the incursion told Breaking the Silence that his orders were “to make a big boom before the ceasefire”, without being given any specific targetsThe Breaking the Silence quote shows that this soldier was not in Rafah to begin with! He was talking about a completely different battle in northern Gaza.
And even his testimony shows the exact opposite of Amnesty's thesis of a bloodthirsty, vengeful IDF:
Before the first ceasefire they told us we were going in [to the Gaza Strip] to take down a house. We went down quick and got the gear we needed ready and then we asked, “Which house are we taking down?” And they said, “We want to make a big boom before the ceasefire.” Like that, those were the words the officer used, and it made everyone mad. I mean, whose house? They hadn’t picked a specific one – just ‘a’ house. That’s when everyone got uneasy. At that moment we decided pretty unanimously that we would go speak with the team commander and tell him we simply aren’t going to do it, that we aren’t willing to put ourselves at risk for no reason. He chose the most inappropriate words to describe to us what we were being asked to do. I guess that’s how it was conveyed to him. “We’re not willing to do it,” we told him. It was a very difficult conversation. Him being an officer, he said, “First of all, so it’s clear to everyone, we will be carrying this thing out tonight, and second, I’m going to go find out more details about the mission for you.” He returned a few hours later and said, “It’s an ‘active house' (being used by combatants for military purposes) and it’s necessary you take it down, and not someone else, because we can’t do it with jets – that would endanger other houses in the area, and that’s why you’re needed.” In the end the mission was miraculously transferred to a battalion with which we were supposed to go in, and we were let off the hook. After the ceasefire a bulldozer and emulsion trucks (transporting the explosive liquid) and the driller (a drilling system for identifying tunnels) came to our area, and work started on the tunnels in our zone.All Amnesty wants you to get out of this is that some IDF officer said he wanted to make a big boom on a random house, and it is clear that this was not the mission at all. And the very idea of such a mission is so anomalous and disgusting to IDF soldiers that even when they think their commander is ordering them to do so, they refuse!
Amnesty, of course, has no problem lying and claiming that this is proof of Israeli war crimes miles away.
Meanwhile, I am looking in the full report for quotes to support Amnesty's claim in their executive summary that
Public statements by Israeli army commanders and soldiers after the conflict provide compelling reasons to conclude that some attacks that killed civilians and destroyed homes and property were intentionally carried out and motivated by a desire for revenge – to teach a lesson to, or punish, the population of Rafah for the capture of Lieutenant Goldin.What public statements support that conclusion? Amnesty's full report supplies exactly one that does no such thing:
Israeli army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said Israel’s assaults were mostly aimed at convincing Hamas never to try it again: “When they come out of their bunkers and they look around, they are going to have to make a serious estimation of whether what they have done was worth it.” These statements indicate an intention to generate material damage as a deterrent.Lerner's statement does not in any way indicate that the IDF intended to inflict damage as a deterrent. He was talking about damage that occurs during the course of a war where Hamas chooses to hide among civilians, necessitating the destruction of civilian buildings that Hamas turned into military targets. Amnesty has no shred of evidence that the IDF chose a single target for non-military reasons.
And this is the quote that Amnesty is using as proof of Israeli war crimes. It betrays not only their willingness to twist the facts to reach their pre-conceived notions, but also a willful ignorance of how modern armies make their decisions.
Amnesty chooses to anthropomorphize the IDF as a vindictive person, not as an organization with multiple layers of checks and balances - and there is plenty of documentation that shows every step that goes into IDF decision making that contradicts Amnesty's blanket statements.
The organization is beneath contempt.