Amnesty International, January 23, 2009 - ...In its fifth post on Amnesty International's Livewire blog, the [Amnesty] team [on the ground in Gaza] described how on Thursday, it had visited families whose homes had been forcibly taken over and used as military positions by Israeli soldiers during the recent three week long conflict.
In the houses, the team saw discarded Israeli army supplies, including sleeping bags, medical kits, empty boxes of munitions and spent cartridges, incontrovertible evidence of the soldiers’ occupation of the houses.
In every one of the homes the team visited, rooms had been ransacked, with furniture overturned and/or smashed. Clothing, documents and other personal items belonging to the families who lived there had been strewn over the floor and soiled, and in one case urinated on.
In one house in the Sayafa area in north Gaza several cardboard boxes full of excrement were left in the house – although there was a functioning toilet which the soldiers could have used. Walls were defaced with crude threats written in Hebrew, such as “next time it will hurt more". In every case the soldiers had smashed holes in the outer walls of the houses to use as lookout and sniper positions.
Chris Cobb-Smith, a military expert and part of Amnesty International's team, was an officer in the British Army for almost 20 years. He said he was staggered by what he saw and by the behaviour and apparent lack of discipline of the Israeli soldiers. “Gazans have had their houses looted, vandalized and desecrated. As well, the Israeli soldiers have left behind not only mounds of litter and excrement but ammunition and other military equipment. It’s not the behaviour one would expect from a professional army,” he said....