706. The Israeli ground offensive from the east reached al-Samouni neighbourhood around 4 a.m. on 4 January 2009. In addition to the ground forces moving in from the east, there were, in all likelihood, heliborne398 troops that landed on the roofs of several houses in the area.
Should you wonder what that means, heliborne troops (and how would the Commission members have known?), you can follow footnote 398:
One witness told the Mission that on 5 January 2009, walking on Salah ad-Din Street towards Gaza, he saw by the roadside parachutes Israeli troops had used to land in the area.Israel has not used parachutes in battle since 1956. I've never heard of parachutists in any army jumping from helicopters, because the two methods contradict one another. Parachutists jump from mid-altitude airplanes, and aim at large areas since they cannot be guided to precise points. Helicopters land troops on precise points; the troops jump out from a height of a foot, or three.
I haven't heard of Israeli troops being flown by helicopter into battle in Gaza, but who knows? Maybe it happened. If so, eyewitnesses would be able to tell about it in one, very clear case: if they saw the helicopters coming in, effectively landing, and then leaving troops behind them. It's that simple.
The story told by the witness is straight from some Arabian tall tale. I am totally at loss for an explanation as to why the fact finders would have wished to cast themselves as giving the time of day to such fabulists, but I'm at loss for an explanation about lots of things in their report. Keep in mind, however, that one of the four members was chosen for being a military man, and some of their staff were hired for their military expertize, so it's not that they didn't know better.