The IDF is proceeding in Gaza in a slow, orderly, efficient and very destructive manner. During 2002's Operation Defensive Shield, in the Jenin refugee camp, disagreements developed among the different units as to how much force should be applied. A battalion of the 5th Reserve Infantry Brigade, which employed relatively humane operating methods, suffered 13 casualties in one single day from an ambush and roadside explosives. After those incidents, everyone took up the "Buchris method," named after the commander of the 51st Golani battalion, Lt. Col. Ofek Buchris (today a brigade commander in the reserves): Forceful entry with "Akhzarit" ("cruel") armored personnel carriers, which demolished houses' walls before the soldiers entered them, leaving them a relatively protected corridor.That's fine with me. It's important to make efforts not to kill innocent Palestinians, even to the extent of marginally endangering our own troops. But when it's the lives of troops versus buildings in Gaza, there should be no question. After the war the Iranians will pay for new buildings; lives can't be re-invented.
In Gaza 2009, there are no such debates. Yedioth Ahronoth reporter Yossi Yehoshua, who was embedded with the 51st Battalion in Gaza's Sajaiyeh neighborhood, heard battalion commander Lt. Col. Shuki Ribak say, "We've used artillery shells, tanks and helicopters for close-range assistance. I don't remember when we ever fired mortars in Gaza before."
His soldiers explained that, if it boils down to choosing between their own lives and Palestinian houses, the choice is clear. Lt. Col. Cohen of Givati told Haaretz that, in his view, Hamas is at fault, for having booby-trapping populated buildings.
Read the whole thing, and everything Issacharoff writes, generally at haaretz.com.