Ahron Bregman writes: The Israeli forces didn’t give the Palestinians of Rafah any warning [before using the Hannibal Protocol in an attempt to thwart the capture of Lt Goldin], but embarked on the most aggressive bombing campaign of Operation Protective Edge. Airplanes struck Rafah 40 times, dropping massive bombs on its civilian neighbourhoods, and heavy artillery pumped more than 1,000 shells into the area. Tanks also invaded, firing in all directions, and heavy bulldozers moved in to flatten scores of houses on the heads of people who were still inside.
Palestinians who did manage to jump into cars to escape the inferno were shot at, and cars carrying injured civilians trying to approach the Rafah hospital were also attacked. The blitz lasted three hours and killed more than 150 Palestinians. It also injured hundreds of others, having buried them under the rubble.
The colonel who orchestrated the assault on Rafah was Ofer Winter, the commander of the Givati Brigade. A religious settler, on the eve of the Gaza war he dispatched a letter to his troops, laden with biblical references, which perhaps explains the ferocity with which they attacked Rafah.
What Colonel Winter called on his troops to do was, effectively, to conduct a religious war on Gaza.