[Youtube video screen capture]
By Ali Abunimah
This video uploaded to YouTube on 31 July is titled in Hebrew “Israeli army forces detonate a mosque with 11 tons of explosives.” http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/video-israeli-soldiers-destroy-gaza-mosque-dedicate-explosion-dead-comrades
The Israeli soldiers apparently from the Givati brigade dedicate the mosque destruction to their fallen comrades and cheer as a massive explosion obliterates it.
“Long live the State of Israel!” a voice exclaims.
According to the narration by the videographer, the detonation took place on 30 July in Khuzaa, which is east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.
Human rights groups have already condemned Israel’s targeting of civilian homes, hospitals, mosques and other civilian objects as illegal.
This video, which suggests soldiers may have intended to destroy the mosque as a reprisal, could be evidence of a specific war crime that the soldiers documented themselves.
Atrocities in Khuzaa
Khuzaa is an area where Palestinians have still been unable to recover all the bodies of loved ones killed in Israeli attacks.
ITV journalist Rageh Omaar, who visited the area on Friday, found a neighborhood that “had almost been completely obliterated, looking like a post-apolcalyptic scene.”
“The stench of decomposing bodies filled the whole area,” Omaar said, as Palestinians returning to the area for the first time in three weeks during a short-lived “humanitarian ceasefire” began to recover bodies from the ruins.
The Daily Beast’s Jesse Rosenfeld reported that he saw decomposing bodies gathered in a bathroom of a house on the edge of Khuzaa amid “haunting signs of what looks like the summary execution of several Palestinians.”
Dedicated to dead Israeli soldiers
But for the Israeli soldiers destroying Khuzaa, the violence is cause for celebration.
This is the full transcript and translation, by Dena Shunra, of what the videographer says:
Khirbat Khuzaa, 30 July 2014, Operation Tzuk Eitan.
We’re waiting for the explosion of something like eleven tons of explosive above – and below – the ground.
This explosion is dedicated to the memory of the three people from the battalion who have fallen since the beginning of the operation – Amit Yeori of blessed memory, Guy Boylend of blessed memory, and Moshiko Dvino, of blessed memory.
The battalion has been fighting in the operation since it started, under task force 84 – a Givati brigade task force.
In the front you can see the mosque, where there is a shaft of a significant tunnel, which will also be part of the overall explosion that will be audible in a few seconds – throughout the village.
In these moments the commander of the battalion is giving the commands over the communication network of the brigade, the network of the battalion, and in a few seconds an explosion will be heard.
[1:26 – a victory shout is heard, with cheers and applause]
Long live the State of Israel!