Creating new perspectives since 2009

Report: Half of Israel army battalion refused to fight in Gaza

January 18, 2024 at 9:18 am

Israeli soldiers are seen as Israeli military mobility continues on the Gaza border, in Nahal Oz, Israel on December 13, 2023 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

About half of the soldiers in an Israeli army reserve battalion have reportedly refused to enter the besieged Gaza Strip and engage in fighting there claiming they have not received the correct training to do so, the Hebrew Kan Reshet Bet radio reported yesterday.

“Reservist fighters who were called to training ahead of the establishment of the Hashomer Brigade (…) have severely criticised the serious gaps in equipment, professionalism, the lack of manpower and especially the fact that in the middle of the training they were informed that they were entering the Gaza Strip without having trained as required,” the station said.

“To the astonishment of the fighters, the Major General announced that it had been decided to bring the battalion (…) deep in the Strip without preparation,” it added.

“We received the conscription order [last month] and we responded. They told us that our task would be to protect the [Israeli] towns [near Gaza], however, after about a week of ‘horrific’ training; conducted without ammunition, and without officers, we were suddenly told of a shocking order to enter the Gaza Strip to clear homes,” the soldiers told the station.

“We are all combat soldiers. I personally was in the Nahal Brigade, and the rest of the soldiers are from former infantry brigades, but we have not carried out reserve missions for years. We were given M16 weapons which were dismantled in our hands, and there was no ammunition for training. We collected bullets off the ground so that we have something to shoot,” they added.

Some reservists even trained without military uniforms while others were not given shirts or combat boots, the soldiers said.

“It is not understandable how they wanted to introduce such a completely unqualified force into the Gaza Strip,” one of the soldiers added.

READ: Israel withdraws one army division from Gaza