Israel-Hamas War: Outrage over Israeli Soldiers’ Malicious Behavior in Gaza

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Footage of IDF Troops’ Behavior Sparks Controversy

Viral videos and photos depicting derogatory behavior by Israeli soldiers in Gaza have caused outrage and demanded accountability from Palestine, Israel, and the international community. These videos, independently verified, have created a problem for the Israeli military, which is already facing criticism for its tactics and the increasing number of civilian casualties in its war against Hamas. In response, the Israeli army has promised to take disciplinary action in what it claims to be isolated incidents. Some of the scenes that have triggered shock and anger include soldiers rummaging through private homes, destroying toys in a store, attempting to burn food and water supplies, and engaging in racist chants while dancing in a circle. These videos, uploaded by soldiers themselves, are not unique but reflect a national sentiment largely supportive of the war with little regard for the suffering of Gaza civilians.

The Dehumanization Effect

According to Dror Sadot, a spokesperson for the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, these videos reveal how the dehumanization mindset prevalent among Israeli soldiers is sinking from higher authorities down to the troops on the ground. Such behavior has been witnessed before, with numerous soldiers caught on camera acting inappropriately or maliciously in various conflict zones worldwide. Critics argue that the indifference towards the new videos in Israel highlights a lack of empathy for Gaza’s civilian population and suggests widespread support for the war.

Humanitarian Crisis and Blame Game

Since October 7th, Israel and Hamas have been embroiled in intense combat in Gaza. Hamas militants reportedly killed approximately 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took around 240 hostages. The Palestinian Health Ministry, under Hamas control, reports that over 18,400 Palestinians have been killed, with two-thirds being women and children. Additionally, 90% of Gaza’s population, approximately 2.3 million people, have been displaced. The Israeli military holds Hamas responsible for the high civilian death toll, alleging that the group operates in densely populated areas and uses residents as human shields.

Disturbing Videos Expose Soldier Misdemeanors

Videos show IDF soldiers riding bicycles through rubble, moving Muslim prayer rugs into a bathroom, finding lingerie in a Gaza home, attempting to burn food and water shipments, and posing next to graffiti calling for the erasure of Gaza. One video, shared by an Israeli media personality, shows soldiers dancing in a circle while singing a song that asserts the absence of uninvolved people in Gaza. The soldier claimed not to know the individuals involved, but the Associated Press has verified the video’s authenticity based on the soldiers’ backgrounds, uniforms, and language used. The video resonated with Israelis due to its popular tune and the need to demonstrate a strong military. However, some Israelis condemned certain aspects of the videos, such as the destruction of the toy store, as unnecessary for security objectives.

Israeli Army’s Response

The Israeli military’s spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, has condemned certain actions seen in the videos. He stated that disciplinary measures would be taken for any behavior contradicting IDF values and commands. It is worth noting that leaked photos and videos showing detained Palestinians stripped and in vulnerable positions have also drawn international attention. The army denied releasing those images but explained that detaining Palestinians required undressing them to ensure they were not wearing explosive vests. Both Israel and Hamas have faced criticism for their actions during the conflict, with Hamas releasing videos of Israeli hostages and the Israeli military contending with previous failures and weaknesses exposed by the October attack.

Collective Trauma and Diminished Empathy

Eran Halperin, a professor studying communal emotional responses to conflict at Hebrew University, noted that previous wars between Israel and Hamas may have garnered more condemnation for similar photos and videos within Israeli society. However, he suggested that the October attack, revealing significant army shortcomings, led to trauma and humiliation for Israelis in a novel way. Consequently, when people feel humiliated and threatened, their ability to empathize and apply moral judgment towards the enemy diminishes.

SOURCE: Ref Image from The Telegraph

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