MOSCOW, August 7 (RIA Novosti) - Israeli soldiers have been speaking out against Israel’s policy in Gaza ever since the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) withdrew its military from Gaza for a 72-hour ceasefire.
“There are a lot of soldiers who come back and say to themselves, 'What the hell are we doing here? Why are we using so much force? Why are we treating them this way?'” Yehuda Shaul, co-founder of Breaking the Silence, an organization of veteran Israeli combatants, told RT.
On Tuesday, Israel announced its mission in the Gaza Strip had been accomplished after destroying Hamas tunnels and hideouts. According to the UN over 1,800 Palestinians had been killed as a result of the conflict, the majority civilians.
Those fighting on the Gaza strip were shocked by the repeated shelling of UN facilities meant to protect innocent Gaza civilians, RT reports. The conflict left many soldiers overwhelmed, causing many to raise questions concerning the regard for following principles of international law.
“To us, the current military operation and the way militarization affects Israeli society are inseparable. In Israel, war is not merely politics by other means; it replaces politics. Israel is no longer able to think about a solution to a political conflict except in terms of physical might; no wonder it is prone to never-ending cycles of mortal violence. And when the cannons fire, no criticism may be heard,” an open letter signed by 50 reserve troops to the Washington Post said.
Israel’s recent years included five wars spanning from 2006 to this week’s conflict in Gaza. Israel’s 2006 war with Lebanon left over 800 killed. Israel’s battle against Hamas resulted in four wars in 2006, 2008, 2012, and 2014.
The IDF withdrew its remaining forces from Gaza after the ceasefire came into effect on Tuesday. An Israeli delegation is currently in Cairo, Egypt negotiating a more permanent agreement along with a Palestinian delegation including members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
On Wednesday, an Israeli official confirmed that Israel has conditionally agreed to extend a ceasefire beyond a Friday deadline, but did not reveal how much longer Israel has agreed to extend the truce.