In Gaza thousands of people were left homeless due to their homes being destroyed beyond use. The Israelis followed the same tactic in their siege of Lebanon a few years ago. This is known as the “Dahiya Doctrine”, named after a suburb of Beirut that was leveled during Israel’s attack on Lebanon in summer 2006.
This doctrine was encapsulated in a phrase used by Dan Halutz, Israel’s chief of staff, at the time. He said Lebanon’s bombardment would “turn back the clock 20 years”.“What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on. We will apply disproportionate force on our targets and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases. This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved."
In the case of Gaza, roads are gone and cars replaced by donkey drawn carts. Gaza was bombed back to the stone age and no help will be forthcoming since the Israelis continue the siege of Gaza. These were not warriors or fighters, they were just plain ordinary families living their lives under circumstances already reduced by the Israeli government.
Human rights investigators say Israeli forces engaged in "wanton destruction" of Palestinian homes during the recent conflict in Gaza.
Amnesty International has told the BBC News website the methods used raised concerns about war crimes.
Israel's military said buildings were destroyed because of military "operational needs".
The Israeli Defense Forces said they operated in accordance with international law during the conflict.
However, the use of mines to destroy homes contradicted this claim, the head of the Amnesty International fact-finding mission to southern Israel and Gaza, Donatella Rovera, has argued.
Israeli troops had to leave their vehicles to plant the mines, indicating that they faced no danger and that there was no military or operational justification, for such wanton destruction she said.
"From the testimonies that we've gathered, lots of demolitions ~ buildings demolished either by bulldozers or explosives ~ were done after the area was under Israeli control," said Yehuda Shaul, one of the group's members.
Thousands of buildings were destroyed in the 22-day Israeli operation.
REDUCED TO RUBBLE
There were also whole neighbourhoods reduced to rubble in areas where the Israeli ground forces were present.
Ms. Rovera said Amnesty International was concerned about "large scale destruction of homes and other civilian properties" during the conflict.
Ms. Rovera said her team found fragments of anti-tank mines in and around destroyed properties.
Troops would have had to leave their armoured vehicles to plant them and rig up the detonators, she said.
"Unless those operating on the ground felt not just 100% but 200% secure ~ that the places were not booby trapped, that they wouldn't come under fire - they could not have got out of the vehicles," she said. "They would not have used that method."
"The use of the method tells us even more that there wasn't the kind of danger that might have made it lawful to destroy some of those properties," Ms. Rovera said.
In one case visited by the BBC, six homes belonging to the extended family of Raed al-Atamna in the Izbit Abed Rabbo area, near the border with Israel, were destroyed.
Mr. Atamna said a UN ordinance clearance team had found several mines in and around the remains of one of the homes.
"SUBSTANTIAL OPERATIONAL NEEDS"
The IDF said buildings in the Gaza Strip were destroyed during Operation Cast Lead due to "substantial operational needs".
In a written statement, it said: "For example, buildings were either booby-trapped, located over tunnels, or fire was opened from within them in the direction of IDF soldiers.
"The terrorist organizations operated from within the civilian population, using them as a cover and made cynical use of the IDF's strict rules of engagement, opening fire from within civilian population centres, mosques, schools, hospitals and even private residences of citizens in the Gaza Strip.
"The troops were briefed and trained to avoid harming uninvolved civilians and did all they could to give warning in advance so that civilians could distance themselves from combat zones.
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"The IDF emphasizes that the terrorist organization, Hamas, and its infrastructure were the target of Operation Cast Lead, and not the civilian population in Gaza."
A military source said the mines used do not detonate automatically and therefore do not represent a danger when left unexploded in the field.
with Mr. Raed al-Atamna and members of his family
whose home was in the Izbit Abed Rabbo area.
My Mother, she is ill and this is not good for her.
This was my house. We live here.
We had a good and decent life here, all of my family.
There is my beautiful home. It was not old.
I built it to give my kids safety.
I built this for my family. We had a beautiful garden.
This taxi was my livelihood. How can support my family now?
This was my kitchen. a leg of our table.
Nothing can be salvaged because of the guns and the rains.
This is my wife's kitchen now.
All our dishes are gone, everything gone.
This is where I sleep now. My wife, my family,
they sleep in Gaza with my brother's family.
The children are frightened always the soldiers will come again.
Here is where they all sleep here together,
the seven kids and my wife.
I come to see my children and family every day.
I have to see my kids.
It is very difficult. My daughter is 16, my son is 13,
they sleep all in one room.
There is little water and it is not to be trusted.
We boil. What else can we do?
It is so hard on the young ones. They do not understand.
There is no place for the older ones to be quiet and do their studies.
All night long the children are afraid of rockets and do not sleep.
They are scared. My youngest wakes up all night screaming.
They dream about rockets.
They think about our house during the war.
I cannot go away to school There is nothing for my education now.
It is all gone. I am imprisoned in this Gaza.
I cannot concentrate in school. All I think of are bombs.
And being hungry.
This is where they play now. Their garden and animals are all gone.
But this is safer.
I took $4000 from Hamas. I buy books. I buy bags.
I buy some toys for the little ones.
I buy the most important things we lost~ things we need to cook.
I worry for my daughter.
She should have the future of her dreams.
We are grateful we live and our bodies are not hurt.
We were lucky. My cousins lost children.
We burn our garden to make our tea.
We had apricots and oranges from these trees.
My father sleeps here with me at night.
He lost the house he built too.
Sometimes now he does not remember things.
He worked so hard to raise his family. A good man. A strong man.
He never did anything violent in his life.
He was just a good husband, father and grandfather.
They took my farm. I rebuild in Gaza. I work hard.
Now they do this. Why? We had no militants in our family.
We were just ordinary people. I want to know why they did this.
This was my kitchen floor. My wife loved this kitchen
She cooked and looked at the gardens, waved to neighbours.
The children used to play with this donkey.
Now we need it to make our lives work.
My grandchildren used to laugh and be happy like normal kids.
Now they are quiet and watch.
I don't know how we build again.
There is nothing in Gaza.
Nothing! Nothing comes in to Gaza.
There is nothing here. I don't see any future.
There is nothing, nothing.
I hope to see future but I don't think so for a long time.