When we first entered [the Gaza Strip], when we took over houses, there was this thing of āprovokingā the area. If youāre standing for hours and the tank is idle, you donāt start driving back and forth. Thereās no comparison between a tank thatās in motion and a tank thatās idle. An idle tank is 1,000 times more vulnerable, and you canāt just drive around for seven hours if youāre stationed at a certain building. So once in a while there were steps we would take to āprovokeā the area. What does that mean? It means machine gun fire at āsuspicious spots.ā
What are āsuspicious spotsā?Ā
Bushes, suspicious buildings.
When you fire at a āsuspicious spotā thatās a building, do you fire toward the window or toward the corner of the structure?
The corner. You want to āprovokeā the area and make sure that if thereās someone in there he wonāt suddenly pop his head out and screw you with some anti-tank missile.
You stay inside the vehicles but start shooting at āsuspicious spotsā?
Every few hours, not the whole time. Every five hours that the tank is idle, itās better to āprovokeā the place.
The commander would tell you to shoot āprovocation fireā at a preordained time, and the targets were chosen by the tank team? By the tank commander?
Yes, in accordance with what you have around you. You locate āsuspicious spotsā ā one doesnāt need to be a genius to do that. Thereās no precise definition, but you know a āsuspicious spotā when you see it. You analyze the area, figure out whatās what, which house is tall and has command over you, which windows are pointed right in your direction. And then wham, I fire a burst. You donāt waste shells, you donāt just shoot shells for no reason.
Up to what range can you define something as a āsuspicious spot?ā
Any range. In principle, any house that can see me, thatās within eyeshot of me, which could take me down ā can be defined as suspicious. We would scan the entire range ā any place within eyeshot.
Whatās the farthest point?
Hundreds of meters away from us. Iāll give you a stupid example, itās even sort of funny. There was one night when someone said, āI saw [movement] over there.ā The whole time, of course, weāre on the two-way radio making sure, asking questions ā you donāt want to find out that one of your guys went out to take a dump and you accidently shot him. So he said, āI saw it for certain and thereās nobody of ours out there.ā They said, āYou have authorization to fireā so he opened fire with the [tankās machine gun] ā he was satisfied, he did his job, he did what he had to do. The next morning it turns out it was a cow. He made a fool of himself, no doubt. But he couldnāt take the risk it was a person.