Israeli forces destroyed towers in Gaza to vent frustration, says pilot

A ball of fire erupts from the Jala Tower as it is destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza city controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement, on May 15, 2021. – Israeli air strikes pounded the Gaza Strip, killing 10 members of an extended family and demolishing a key media building, while Palestinian militants launched rockets in return amid violence in the West Bank. Israel’s air force targeted the 13-floor Jala Tower housing Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television and the Associated Press news agency

An Israeli pilot has revealed that the destruction of residential towers in the Gaza Strip was “a way to vent the army’s frustration.”

In an interview conducted by the Israeli Channel 12 with a number of pilots who participated in blowing up 9 residential towers in the Gaza Strip, including one that housed international media offices, one of the pilots said that he does not underestimate the severity of the attacks that he and his colleagues carried out.

He said, “We threw tons of ammunition and fired on them that no one doubts.”

However, he spoke of feelings shared by his colleagues, saying, “I went on a mission to carry out airstrikes with a feeling that destroying the towers is a way to vent frustration over what is happening to us and over success of the groups in Gaza in kicking us.”

“We failed to stop the rocket fire and to harm the leadership of these groups, so we destroyed the towers,” he added.

During the 11-day of Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, Israel destroyed nine multi-story buildings, claiming they were being used as “military infrastructure”.

On May 15, Israeli air strikes levelled the al-Jalaa tower, an 11-storey building that housed the offices of Al Jazeera and the Associated Press in the Gaza Strip.

The bombing of this tower drew criticism from international organisations, rights groups and several governments, including those of Israel’s allies.

On May 17, leading rights group Amnesty International condemned Israel’s continuing assault on Gaza, saying that the Israeli military has “displayed a shocking disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians by carrying out a number of airstrikes targeting residential buildings in some cases killing entire families – including children – and causing wanton destruction to civilian property, in attacks that may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity”.

Gideon Levy, a columnist at the Israeli daily Haaretz, said the bombing of high-rise buildings, in particular, make for a spectacular show on television, buoying an Israeli public opinion that is already very supportive of the offensive on Gaza.

“The towers that were bombed were a great show,” Levy told Al Jazeera. “It’s the only scene that the Israeli television channels are broadcasting again and again.”

“The towers collapsing is something that is very photogenic,” he added. “It shows how strong Israel is, and how Israeli pilots are so sophisticated by taking down a whole tower by one or two missiles.”

At least 279 Palestinians were killed, including 69 children and 40 women, and 1,910 others injured in the recent Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

For Levy, this constant drip feed showcasing such destruction smacks of “a sign of weakness”.

“It’s a loss of strength,” he said. “Israel was always proud it could target a certain room in a certain apartment on a certain floor and bomb it. But Israel does it because it can, and has nobody to stop it from doing so.”

Israelis know very little about Gaza, he continued, and are perfectly happy with not knowing anything about it.

“The images and reports they see from Gaza don’t include the suffering,” Levy explained.

“This is done deliberately, not because of censorship. Everyone shares the same denial. We all don’t want to see it and the media is helping us not to see it by not showing it to us.”

(Source / 23.05.2021)

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