Israeli army vows to crack down on behaviour of soldiers after viral videos showed them setting fire to Gaza food supplies, rummaging through boxes of lingerie and chanting racist songs

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Video footage shows IDF soldiers ransacking the home of displaced Gazans
  • One was seen playing with a bicycle in the ruins of a building
  • The IDF says it will crack down on its soldiers’ shocking behaviour 

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The IDF has pledged to crack down on its soldiers behaviour, after several videos showing them setting fire to food supplies for Gaza, going through lingerie and chanting racist songs went viral. 

The videos, seemingly filmed and shared by IDF soldiers themselves, show them behaving in derogatory and offensive ways, amid the army’s ground assault against the enclave. 

One video shows soldiers ride bicycles through rubble. In another, a soldier films boxes of lingerie found in a Gaza home. In another, a soldier has moved Muslim prayer rugs into a bathroom.

In one clip a soldier is shown trying to set fire to food and water supplies that are scarce in Gaza. 

In another photo, a soldier poses next to words spray-painted in red on a pink building that read, ‘instead of erasing graffiti, let’s erase Gaza.’

In one clip a soldier is shown trying to set fire to food and water supplies that are scarce in Gaza

An IDF soldier can be seen gleefully playing on a bicycle in the ruins of a building

An IDF soldier can be seen gleefully playing on a bicycle in the ruins of a building

One soldier was seen ransacking an abandoned shop

One soldier was seen ransacking an abandoned shop

An IDF soldier was seen rummaging through the personal items of a family, and found a set of lingerie

An IDF soldier was seen rummaging through the personal items of a family, and found a set of lingerie

A video posted by a conservative Israeli media personality on X shows dozens of soldiers dancing in a circle, apparently in Gaza, and singing a song that includes the words, ‘Gaza we have come to conquer. … We know our slogan – there are no people who are uninvolved’. 

On Sunday, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military’s spokesman, condemned some of the actions seen in the recent videos: ‘In any event that does not align with IDF values, command and disciplinary steps will be taken.’

But critics have said that the videos reflect a sentiment across Israel that cares little for the 18,608 Palestinians who have been killed, and the 50,594 who have been wounded in Israel’s retaliation against Hamas for Black Saturday. 

‘The dehumanisation from the top is very much sinking down to the soldiers,’ said Dror Sadot, a spokesperson for the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, which has long documented Israeli abuses against Palestinians. 

Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian Cabinet minister and peace negotiator, said he can’t remember a time when each side was so unwilling to consider the pain of the other. 

The IDF has killed over 18,600 civilians in Gaza since it began its retaliatory ground invasion

The IDF has killed over 18,600 civilians in Gaza since it began its retaliatory ground invasion 

Roughly 70% of those killed in Gaza have been women and children

Roughly 70% of those killed in Gaza have been women and children

Around 85% of Gazans have been displaced by the bloody conflict

Around 85% of Gazans have been displaced by the bloody conflict 

READ MORE: 30-year friendship critical to Israel’s diplomatic and military links to the U.S. hits boiling point as Joe rejects Netanyahu’s Gaza plan and condemns his governments lurch to the right

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‘Previously, there are people that are interested in seeing from the two perspectives,’ said Khatib, who teaches international relations at Beir Zeit University in the West Bank. 

‘Now, each side is closed to its own narrative, its own information, rules, and perspective.’

Eran Halperin, a professor with Hebrew University’s psychology department who studies communal emotional responses to conflict, said that in previous wars between Israel and Hamas, there may have been more condemnation of these types of photos and videos from within Israeli society.

But he said the October 7 attack, which exposed deep weaknesses and failures by the army, caused trauma and humiliation for Israelis in a way that hasn’t happened before.

‘When people feel they were humiliated, hurting the source of this humiliation doesn’t feel as morally problematic,’ Halperin said. 

‘When people feel like their individual and collective existence is under threat, they don’t have the mental capacity to empathize or apply the moral rulings when thinking about the enemy.’

Yinon Magal, the media personality who shared the video of IDF soldiers singing racist chants, told the Associated Press that he did not know the soldiers involved.

But the agency has verified backgrounds, uniforms and language heard in the videos and found them to be consistent with independent reporting. 

Smoke was seen rising over Gaza on the 68th day of the war between Israel and Hamas

Smoke was seen rising over Gaza on the 68th day of the war between Israel and Hamas

Because of the fighting and Israel's blockade of Gaza, the health care system and humanitarian aid operations have collapsed in large parts of the territory

Because of the fighting and Israel’s blockade of Gaza, the health care system and humanitarian aid operations have collapsed in large parts of the territory

Aid workers have warned of starvation and the spread of disease among displaced people

Aid workers have warned of starvation and the spread of disease among displaced people

Gazans have been mourning the more than 18,600 civilians killed since October 7

Gazans have been mourning the more than 18,600 civilians killed since October 7

Magal said the video struck a chord among Israelis because of the popular tune and because Israelis need to see pictures of a strong military. It is based on the fight song of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team, whose hard-core fans have a history of racist chants against Arabs and rowdy behavior.

‘These are my fighters, they’re fighting against brutal murderers, and after what they did to us, I don’t have to defend myself to anyone,’ Magal told The Associated Press.

He condemned some of the other videos that have surfaced, including the ransacking of the toy store, apparently in the northern area of Jebaliya, in which a soldier smashes toys and decapitates a plastic figurine, as destruction that is unnecessary for Israel’s security objectives. 

The videos emerged just days after leaked photos and video of detained Palestinians in Gaza, stripped to their underwear, in some cases blindfolded and handcuffed, also drew international attention. 

The army says it did not release those images, but Hagari said this week that soldiers have undressed Palestinian detainees to ensure they are not wearing explosive vests. 

Osama Hamdan, a top Hamas official, aired the video of the soldier in the toy shop at a news conference in Beirut. He called the footage ‘disgusting.’ 

Hamas has come under heavy criticism for releasing a series of videos of Israeli hostages, clearly under duress. 

Hamas militants also wore bodycams during their October 7 incursion, capturing violent images of deadly attacks on families in their homes and revellers at a dance party.

Israel has bombarded the enclave night after night in response to Hamas' incursion on Black Saturday

Israel has bombarded the enclave night after night in response to Hamas’ incursion on Black Saturday 

Lighting flares fired by Israeli forces illuminate the sky as Israeli attacks continue in at the Nuseirat refugee camp in Deir al-Balah, Gaza

Lighting flares fired by Israeli forces illuminate the sky as Israeli attacks continue in at the Nuseirat refugee camp in Deir al-Balah, Gaza

More than six weeks after Israeli soldiers invaded Gaza's north in the wake of Hamas' October 7 attack, ground troops are still locked in heavy combat with Palestinian fighters in and around Gaza City

More than six weeks after Israeli soldiers invaded Gaza’s north in the wake of Hamas’ October 7 attack, ground troops are still locked in heavy combat with Palestinian fighters in and around Gaza City

The UK has sanctioned seven further individuals linked to Hamas, the Foreign Office has announced.

The Palestinian militant group was responsible for the October 7 attack on Israel that sparked a fresh conflict in the Middle East.

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron tweeted: ‘Hamas can have no future in Gaza.

‘Today’s sanctions on Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad will continue to cut off their access to funding and isolate them further.

‘We will continue to work with partners to reach a long-term political solution so that Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace.’

This is the second round of sanctions placed on Hamas members by the UK since Black Saturday, bringing the total number sanctioned to 15. 

The air and ground war, launched after Hamas’ incursion that killed 1,200 Israelis, has killed thousands of Palestinian civilians and pushed nearly 85% of Gaza’s population from their homes. 

More than six weeks after Israeli soldiers invaded Gaza’s north in the wake of Hamas’ October 7 attack, ground troops are still locked in heavy combat with Palestinian fighters in and around Gaza City. 

Clashes raged overnight and into Wednesday in multiple areas, with especially heavy fighting in Shijaiyah, a dense neighbourhood that was the scene of a major battle during the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas. 

Heavy rainfall overnight swamped tent camps in Gaza’s south, where Israel has told people to seek refuge, even as that region has also come under repeated aerial bombardment.

In the central city of Deir al-Balah, the storm brought cold winds and flooded a shelter area behind a hospital, sending torrents of water coursing between the tents.

The air and ground war, launched after Hamas' incursion that killed 1,200 Israelis, has killed thousands of Palestinian civilians and pushed nearly 85% of Gaza's population from their homes

The air and ground war, launched after Hamas’ incursion that killed 1,200 Israelis, has killed thousands of Palestinian civilians and pushed nearly 85% of Gaza’s population from their homes

Heavy rainfall overnight swamped tent camps in Gaza's south, where Israel has told people to seek refuge

Heavy rainfall overnight swamped tent camps in Gaza’s south, where Israel has told people to seek refuge

Israel says it tries to avoid harming civilians and blames the high toll on Hamas because it conceals fighters, tunnels and weapons in residential areas

Israel says it tries to avoid harming civilians and blames the high toll on Hamas because it conceals fighters, tunnels and weapons in residential areas

Because of the fighting and Israel’s blockade of Gaza, the health care system and humanitarian aid operations have collapsed in large parts of the territory, and aid workers have warned of starvation and the spread of disease among displaced people.

Israeli strikes overnight hit two residential buildings in the southern province of Khan Younis, where Israeli ground forces had launched a new line of attack earlier this month.

A strike on a home near the main highway between Khan Younis and the southern border town of Rafah killed two boys, aged 2 and 8, a woman in her 80s and a woman in her 30s, according to Mohammed al-Beiyouk, a relative of the deceased.

Another strike killed a baby and his grandfather, according to hospital records at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis.

The military rarely comments on individual strikes. Israel says it tries to avoid harming civilians and blames the high toll on Hamas because it conceals fighters, tunnels and weapons in residential areas.

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