An Israeli military commander has been recorded ordering troops to shell medical facilities during the 2014 attack on Gaza.
Nerya Yeshurun, a lieutenant colonel, instructed that a clinic in the Shujaiya neighborhood be fired upon on 23 July last year to “honor” an Israeli soldier who had been killed a day earlier. His statement amounts to a clear, though perhaps unintended, admission of war crimes.
Targeting civilians as an act of revenge is strictly forbidden by international law. Although Yeshurun’s orders were broadcast by the Israeli media at the time, they have not been translated before now. It is remarkable that they did not elicit comment either within Israel or internationally.
In an address over an internal army communications network, Yeshurun told his troops to “shoot a fusilade to honor and salute” Dima Levitas, a 26-year-old captian allegedly killed by sniper fire the previous day. Yeshurun instructed that the “fusilade” be directed “at the clinic from which the villains shot at him [Levitas] and took his life.”
“Prepare for shooting in memory of Dima,” Yeshurun added. “May his soul be bundled up in the bundle of life, Amen.” The funeral of Levitas was taking place at the military graveyard in Mount Herzl, Jerusalem, that day.
Yeshurun’s address was uploaded the next day by NRG, a news website owned by the US casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.