Published on 20 Nov 2012

This is the IDF: We will blow up your house in five minutes

Well over 40 members of the Khouli family were asleep. Of course they were, it was getting on towards 3am.

As is the way with family groups here, several branches live in one sprawling, three-storey block. There’s a small engineering workshop to the right of the house. To the left the neighbour’s equally large place and a small row of shops across the wide street.

At just on 3am this morning the phone rang.

Abu Ahmad Khouli awoke and blundered towards the phone, not wishing to wake too many of the family:

“This is the Israeli Defence Force – you have five minutes to leave your house.”

“Why?” He answered, “why do you want to attack our house? What for?”

The voice came back:

“Do not start asking why. Get out of the house. You have five minutes, starting now.”

And the line went dead.

Incredibly, Abu Ahmad then dialled 101 for emergency services and asked if this is credible? Do the Israelis do this? If they want to kill someone in a house they just open fire surely?

“It could be a hoaxer,” came the reply, “but you’d better call the fire brigade and get them over.

By now most of the family was awake and dressing hurriedly. It was it this point that the phone rang again, just after 3am.

“Why aren’t you out?”

It was the man from Israel again:

“Look – you people get out now. Right now. Tell your neighbours and get clear of the house. We attack in five minutes. Don’t take anything, just get away right now.”


Somehow they and neighbours got away. They think a final small rocket was fired from a drone.

Then, from a distance they saw the entire building reduced to rubble in seconds with a fireball exploding into the night.

Around three hours later the jet returned, another airstrike just to make more than absolutely certain.

The blasts were so powerful the shockwave ensured the engineering workshop one side is wrecked, so too the small shopping bazaar across the road.

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18 reader comments

  1. David Barlow says:

    As always with Channel 4 moving and graphic. I am appalled. Who do these people think they are, by what right do they do this, and how, to be plain, does this really differ from Poland when the boot was somewhat on the other foot. Both are ruthless, totally inexcuseable and wholly unacceptable.
    David Barlow

    1. Jill says:

      On the contrary, whatever the reason for targeting this house the IDF gave a five minute warning to the occupants and then waited until they were out. This is a diametrically different situation from the one southern Israelis have been forced top endure for the past ten months. They have had 15 seconds of warning to dive for shelter – warning not from Hamas, but from their own people warning them of continual assault from incoming shelling, bombs and mortar attacks. Look on You-tube and see for yourself. The terrorist group, Hamas never give any warning.
      It would have been reasonable to have commended Israel for the warning, not condemn them for warning the occupants.

      1. Alex Hughes says:

        This line of argument is ridiculous and and is exactly the type of argument used by the Israeli government and its supporters to divert attention from the mass atrocities that Israel is committing now and on numerous occasions over the last 60 years.

        Are you saying that someone who commits a crime should be congratulated for warning the victim before perpetrating the crime? If I demolish your and your entirely family’s home illegally, I should not be congratulated for warning you that I’m about to do it. I should only be condemned as a criminal.

        Also, the fact that someone else is perpetrating a less severe crime and is not warning its victims of that crime (ie Hamas rocket attacks which have killed 3 civilian, Israeli attacks so far have killed well over 100 – there more severe) is no justification or validation for your crime. It would be like me killing someone for punching me in the face, and then asking onlookers for sympathy for warning the man who punched me that I was going to kill him. It is simply ridiculous to make such a point.

        Reports that are corroborated by both sides suggest that over 70% of the Palestinian dead are women, children and the elderly and that only a small percentage have been confirmed as combatants.

        What is so disturbing about your line of thought is that it demonstrates how dehumanised the Israelis and it’s supporters have become over the last 60 years, where such atrocities can be shrugged off with mere words and flimsy tenuous arguments.

    2. samina says:

      Palestinians were NOT wearing that boot.

  2. lilly says:

    Thanks Alex – glad (but sad) for your report without distort (as other media channels give). The Stanford experiment springs to mind – Gaza now one big prison that the guards (IDF & its inhumane leadership) can do as they like with the prisoners. This terrible experiment must end now. I like to keep in mind that each moment could be my last, that way I am free of fear and hate, loving kindness is the only way to be, I just wish this could be so for all and then there would be no IDF.

  3. Richard says:

    At least the IDF give these “innocents” a chance. Palestinian terrorists try to maximise civilian casualties without warning.

  4. megz says:

    I have been utterly disgusted by the reports coming out of Gaza, but what have been worse is the UK government’s reaction. To say that these people have brought this disproportionate action on theseselves is vile. Not that Labour would be any different. The UK is rotten to the core.

  5. Falcon says:

    No compassion. Just profound arrogance. Peace will be achieved when Gaza and the West Bank are once again unified with Israel as one state with equal rights for Jews and non-Jews alike. Not before.

  6. Trevor Griffiths says:

    “Somehow they and neighbours got away”. Odd way of putting it. They got away because they were warned. Striking the house at night reduces casualties (as illustrated here). So in the interests of real journalism please could we have a clue as to why the house was targeted? I don’t think the IDF pick the house numbers out of a hat.

    And of course, Hamas make sure that the residents of Southern Israel are given the same courtesy call before they fire their rockets. Alex, you’ve gone native.

  7. E P says:

    I have a friend who is Jewish, his sister lives in Tel Aviv. They have been campaigning on Facebook with Israeli posts claiming that pretty much any information posted on the net or the news about Israel’s assist is fake or other forms of lies. I would like to show them this but I know their instant response will be that this is a Hamas lie and the photo us actually a photo of somewhere in syria . He lives in Italy – is there any way that I can demonstrate to him that this is true?

    1. Alex Hughes says:

      Your friend is brain washed like so many of the supporters of Israeli action. The brainwashing of the Israeli people (particularly during military service) is essential as if many of the population knew the truth they would not support these crimes and the long term strategic plan would fail. Hamas would not exist if it wasn’t for the ghettoisation and subjugation of the Palestinian people over the last six decades. They are the sons and grandsons of people who were thrown out of their ancestral homes, forced to grow up without opportunity or dignity or hope for the future. They are the sons of murdered innocent men and women. So why is anyone surprised that they are violent and fanatical. If you kill one Hamas terrorist, you automatically condemn his sons to become terrorists themselves. If you kill innocent men and women, you massively increase the chances of their sons joining terrorist groups in order to seek revenge against their parents’ killers. It’s just human nature. The point is, you can not stop terrorism through murder and destruction; it’s like trying to put out a fire using petrol.

      The truth is that Israel is fully aware of this reality and has no interest in peace. The rocket attacks play in to their expansionist plans as they enable the government to say that military intervention is “self defence”. Israel will continue such attacks, and the illegal construction of new settlements until there is no Palestinian territory left and all of the economically successful Palestinians have left. This has been Israel’s strategy since its foundation and it is proving very successful as it now possesses the vast majority of the land that was once Palestine and it continues to occupy new land each year that passes. 3/4 of a million non-Jewish Palestinians were displaced in 1948 (about 55% of the non Jewish population at the time) with their villages and land taken from them and Jewish villages created in their place. The Jewish population has increased exponentially in the last 6 decades and new territory has been systematically and illegally absorbed by the ever growing Israeli population (increasing from circa 600,000 in 1948 to 5.5 million in 2008).

      I’d be interested to know what your friend thinks about this reality?

  8. ian grant says:

    I remain very concerned by the biased reporting of the western media which appears against Israel. Yes war is always wrong. What do you do when 120 rockets rain down on you? You interview the Gaza strip victims at length but don’t those in Israel on the recieving end of these rockets. Israel seeks only to defend itself. Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel. Israel has no interest in invading anywhere. Even in this recent conflict Israel in its hospitals is treating the tragedy of the palestinian victims.

    You seem to imply that Israel should lie back and allow hundreds of rockets to rain down on it allowing them to kill at random including women and children. Hamas is raining down rockets on innocent children deliberately. Israel tries to avoid that.

    Israel is always to blame in the media. It has a right to exist. I became aware of biased reporting against Israel when i was in Israel for the first time in 2009 in Jerusalem and found myself in the middle of an event reported in headlines around the world. Incredulously i found the british press reporting quite the opposite to what i found happening on the ground.

    It is time the british press including channel 4 started reporting the middle east crisis in an unbiased format. It is opprobious to suggest that the killing of innocents by an aggressor committed to the wiping out of that nation is justified and yet the right of the attacked nation to defend itself is met with such derision by the press. This does not stand against any form of reasoning and solid argument.

    1. Matt says:

      “It is opprobious [sic] to suggest that the killing of innocents by an aggressor committed to the wiping out of that nation is justified and yet the right of the attacked nation to defend itself is met with such derision by the press.”

      So you would agree, then, that it is opprobrious to suggest that the killing of innocents by Israel – who are committed to the wiping out of the people of Gaza – is justified? And you would also be unhappy to see derision within the media towards the suggestion that Gaza has a right to defend itself?

      “[Israel] has a right to exist.”

      Does it though? Will it still have a right to exist if another group of people arrive on their shores and announce that they are going to live there now? Because apparently that was all it took to nullify Palestine’s right to exist.

    2. Anne says:

      Solid arguement is: look at the numbers, 3 Israelis killed, over 100 Gazans killed. Its an unequal, unfair fight.

    3. Alex Hughes says:

      No one is suggesting that the rocket strikes are acceptable (as they are not) and I haven’t heard a single journalist suggesting it is. The reason why the Israeli attacks are receiving ten times more coverage is because they are causing ten times more deaths and destruction, pure and simple. both sides corroborate that over 70% of the dead are women, children and the elderly and only a small number are combatants. Almost 2000 government and civilian buildings have been bombed many irreparably. Such death and destruction is obviously disproportionate and it is obscene to suggest that the four dead in Israel should get the same coverage.

  9. benji says:

    IDF have done this, Hamas have done that, and on, and on, and on….
    killing is wrong full stop.
    that is the bottom line

  10. Joanna says:

    I feel to understand this situation you need to go back to when the state of Israel was established, reading Miko Peled’s book; The General’s Son would be a good place to start. He was a son of a prominent Zionist family; his father was a general in the 1967 war; and he speaks about how the Palestinian people were driven out of their homes; they didn’t have any military or militia when the state of Israel was formed. When Palestinians speak their word is not good enough. Also the Jews against Zionists never get a voice, not in America or not in this country – why – because the media keep up their narrative even though it is bias, and they have other interests for doing this, interests that if you took more time to investigate are appaling. It depends on which God you believe or don’t believe in – if Israel is a priestly nation, then which God do they believe in – it seems to me they have no problem in investing in war, perhaps it is the God of war, when only the God of love is the only one which will bring the result… yes it has to start with Israel, it’s their mandate as far as I am concerned, they need to do some soul searching… while their own people are also suffering austerity measures, how many on the ground in Israel, perhaps voices are not heard. Start with Miko… and then listen to Jews against Zionism.

  11. lilly says:

    Dear Ian, A child was killed in Gaza before the ‘rockets’ (‘pipes’ is what one IDF person described them as) were fired, along with innumerable provocations. Gaza has no navy, no airforce, etc. little water, little electricity, little sewerage, little food, children psychologically and physically harmed. In comparisson to the weaponry the IDF has at it’s disposal, which I will not pollute this blog with naming. ‘Defending’ itself! William Blake said ‘There is a truth, and a false truth’. Compassion for all those suffering.

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