They were the first to enter Bethlehem, storm the homes of wanted Palestinians and witness bombs exploding in 2002 during Operation Defensive Shield. 15 years after the operation, a reservist who documented the operation from the field is revealing the raw footage.
Watch: Never-before-seen footage from Operation Defensive Shield
It all began with one camera in Bethlehem during the IDF’s Operation Defensive Shield in April 2002. 23-year-old film student Yaniv Darman was called up for reserve duty along with his friends and found himself in the middle of the city near the Church of the Nativity, where dozens of terrorists were hiding out. 15 years later, he has decided to reveal the never-before-seen footage he captured during the operation.
At one point during the operation, Darman decided to pick up his camera and start recording. He interviewed his army friends and asked them about their feelings. His camera recorded the dramatic moments when bombs exploded and gunshots were heard in the streets of Bethlehem.
Photo Credit: Yaniv Darman/Channel 2 News
“I bought a camera and when I received the conscription notice, I opened it,” Darman told Channel 2 Online. “When I started to record, I set a goal for myself: to show in the movie that there are two worlds- the one of the reserves and the one of the civilian life. Every reservist is a person who really has two hats [to wear].”
Darman and his friends were given a clear but complicated mission: to be the first to enter Bethlehem and encircle the city’s kasbah from the south in order to enable the rest of the brigade to surprisingly enter from the north. In addition, they were tasked with preventing wanted Palestinians from escaping Bethlehem or joining the terrorists in the Church of the Nativity.
In 2007, Darman released a documentary film about his general service in the reserves. Many segments of the documentation from the operation were not included in the film. 10 years later, Darman has decided to release the additional raw footage to the public for the first time.