Testimony Num : 36

This attack was planned based on an exploitation of our moral values

What they did not know was that the scout was part of a well-arranged ambush of 13 Hamas special forces terrorists that included a tunnel attack squad, a kidnapping squad and a scouting squad. Sarel's squad got caught in the ambush

This is the story of my brother, Hadar Goldin, that was killed and kidnapped on august 1st during a humanitarian ceasefire during Operation Protective Edge

This story finds me after three weeks of intensive combats, soon after we entered the last ceasefire of the operation (which was a humanitarian ceasefire). We were briefed that hopefully this will be the last ceasefire, and that there is a complete ban on the use of live ammunition towards any suspect and basically we cannot shoot anyone who is not shooting directly at us. The ban also included no movement of tanks, or any massive firepower. I was sent on a patrol a few hundred meters from the location where Hadar was soon to be killed and kidnapped. During that time, Hadar and his company, were on a patrol as well. It was 8:45 am, 15 minutes into the ceasefire. One of the soldiers noticed an enemy scout from a distance. A scout who under regular combat circumstances where there is no ceasefire, would most likely be neutralized, probably with use of deadly force.

Because the ceasefire was in effect, as far as we were concerned, Bnaya Sarel, the company commander, decided to try and catch the scout and bring him for questioning. He took a 6-men squad, divided it into two teams of 3 men and Hadar, Liel Gidoni and him started to advance towards the scout. What they did not know was that the scout was part of a well-arranged ambush of 13 Hamas special forces terrorists that included a tunnel attack squad, a kidnapping squad and a scouting squad. Sarel’s squad got caught in the ambush and most likely where all severely wounded right away and Hadar was kidnapped into the tunnel after being shot.

The second team commanded by Eitan Fund, the company deputy commander who later received an accommodation for his actions in this incident, arrived to the scene soon after. Fund concluded that Hadar was probably kidnapped into the tunnel he found and took a small team and headed into the tunnel to try and retrieve Hadar. While Fund was searching in the tunnel, a standard “kidnapped soldier” procedure was operated by the IDF command. A few minutes later Fund found some of Hadar’s gear in the tunnel, and concludes that he was shot, and was most likely killed.

This all happens on a Friday. I was a few hundred meters away from the incident on a patrol mission and was part of the force intended to support and rescue Hadar’s squad. I still have the map of the area with the path marked to the destination where Hadar was. I was ordered to go out towards the security fence on the Gaza border to pick up some tunneling equipment, but that was only a false pretense to get me out of there. When I got to the fence I was told by an officer that Hadar was kidnapped, and that I’m going home.

Today, four years later, I understand the irony in that whole incidents. This ambush, attack and kidnap were all planned based on a manipulation of our moral values, exploiting the humanitarian ceasefire and our moral codes and sensitivity to human lives of any side. Hamas terrorists has exploited the humanitarian ceasefire to kill and kidnap Hadar while only one week before than I risked my life to rescue 30-40 Palestinians civilians from Hamas who were using them as a human shield (see Tzur Golding’s other testimony in this booklet). I think there is no better example of the differences between us and them. We, the IDF, do everything in our power to protect our civilians as well as theirs, while Hamas exploits our good will and its own citizens to attack our civilians and soldiers.