This is a follow up for two earlier diaries I wrote about how Israel's IDF was implementing their 'Hannibal Procedure' by massive attacks on two neighborhoods flattening them and killing hundreds of Gazans in the process.
Massive Israeli shelling, inaccurate artillery caused numerous civilian fatalities
It is thought that at least 32,000 artillery shells were fired during Operation Protective Edge
By Amos Harel and Gili Cohen
On August 1, in Rafah, more than 1,000 artillery shells were fired in the three hours following a Hamas cell’s capture of Lt. Hadar Goldin. The IDF continues to investigate the incident, which drew a great deal of international attention due to the high number of casualties.
The IDF expects foreign agencies to investigate the incident as well. This week the UN Human Rights Council appointed a team to investigate allegations of Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip.
The battle in Rafah took place in a neighborhood whose civilian residents had not been evacuated by the IDF. According to Palestinian reports, 130 to 150 Palestinians, including many civilians, were killed in the fighting. In the three hours of fighting the neighborhood was pounded by more than 1,000 artillery shells and some 40 air strikes.I'm not sure if 'fighting' is the most accurate term what happened there. I can't imagine this neighborhood exhibiting much resistance once such a hellish concentration of modern firepower started raining down on it. It would be hard for anyone in the vicinity to survive such a terrible onslaught of explosions and flying shrapnel. So why did it continue for 180 minutes?
But according to some military sources, many IDF commanders and soldiers believe that the Hannibal Directive calls for preventing a soldier’s capture at any cost, even if that means killing him.With a whole neighborhood bombed into dust and 130 -150 dead (they're still searching for more bodies in the wreckage), I'd say that those are some pretty extreme measures alright. The lives and property of the residents couldn't have been something IDF's commanders gave much consideration to.
The evidence left in the tunnel through which Goldin was abducted to Rafah and discovered the following day indicated that he was killed during the initial exchange of fire with the Hamas cell that tried to kidnap him. But at the time, IDF commanders were operating on the assumption that Goldin was still alive, and took extreme measures to thwart his abduction.
Lets just look at the math involved. 32,000 artillery shells fired into Gaza's tiny 141 square mile area. That works out to just under 227 shells per square mile. Then there's the untold number of bombs and missiles from drones and aircraft on top of that.
Watch as a whole town in Gaza is destroyed by artillery and bombs:
My Father commanded a front line Marine Artillery unit during the Korean War. He'd tell me how many times their artillery fire would be inaccurate, and about some of the techniques he's use to try and overcome that. Of course he was fighting in rural mountainous terrain in the early 1950s, not in city that had to have been mapped and plotted right down to every last centimeter by the IDF.
The actions of IDF commanders who ordered the Hannibal Directive to be implemented with massive firepower were extremely reckless. The same is probably true of the top brass who ordered the whole Gaza Strip to come under such a massive volume of shelling and bombing as to make the high civilian death tolls unavoidable, and damage on a scale that hard to imagine.