An Israeli army investigation into scores of civilian deaths caused by Israeli Occupation Forces in Rafah in August 2014, has absolved itself of any wrongdoing and declared the case closed.
According to Amnesty International, more than 130 Palestinian civilians were killed on August 1st, a day that became known as ‘Black Friday.’
Despite this, Military Advocate General Maj. Gen. Sharon Afek of the occupation forces concluded said that no criminal or administrative proceedings would be pursued against the commanders, although he did acknowledge that the investigation revealed flaws and inconsistencies.
A day of carnage began when a Givati reconnaissance unit was searching for tunnels in a farm area in eastern Rafah during a ceasefire. According to Israeli interpretation of the ceasefire conditions, they were allowed to carry out such operations under occupation Israeli control.
During their search, they encountered a Hamas patrol.Two of the occupation soldiers were killed while one of the soldiers was taken by the Hamas unit. It transpired that the third soldier Hadar Goldin, was already dead when taken away.
In response, Israeli occupation forces implemented the so-called Hannibal Directive — an intensive military response executed in order to rescue a captured soldier.
The subsequent assault subjected the people of Rafah and surrounding area to what Amnesty described as “massive and prolonged bombardment, began without warning while masses of people were on the streets”.
Amnesty’s investigation indicated a “strong evidence” of war crimes by occupation forces based on eyewitness accounts,photographs, videos and satellite images.
The firepower unleashed by occupation forces lasted four days. Reports now suggest that between 130 and 200 civilians died. Hundreds more were injured. The onslaught also caused extensive damage to houses and infrastructure.
In spite of this,the occupation military investigation yesterday concluded there was no evidence to indicate that the Hannibal Directive led to “the use of force in a disproportionate or unrestrained manner”.
The case is now closed.