COL. AMNON, Israel Defense Forces (through translator): The problem for me started when I realized there was a problem with the readiness of the reserve regiment to carry out its missions when the orders were given. The regiment commander came to me and told me he's not ready, so I went to my superior officer, the division commander, telling him they're not ready. He told me, "I don't care. We're going in."
INIGO GILMORE: Twice, Amnon returned to the division commander to request that the order be changed, and twice he was rejected.
COL. AMNON: I felt a very heavy dilemma. It was clear to me that I must carry out my mission, but I didn't want others below me to know I was in this dilemma, so I gave very clear orders what I wanted to be done.
INIGO GILMORE: Chiefly concerned about the risks facing the ill-prepared reserve soldiers, Colonel Amnon pulled over his maps and decided to change the plans just hours before the soldiers were sent in.
COL. AMNON: I approved the plans myself. No one else will approve these plans.
INIGO GILMORE: In a decisive move, he shifted some reserve units away from the high-risk missions they'd been earmarked for, replacing them with regular forces.
It's now midnight, just two hours before the mission starts. Here the redeployed soldiers arrive to collect their uniforms and weapons before rushing to the front line. Amnon's intervention may have saved many lives.
COL. AMNON: Sending soldiers to the battlefield is a very complicated mission, knowing that they're going to be shot at. You can't send soldiers into battle knowing that they will be killed. There is no war without risk, of course, but you can make calculated risks.
INIGO GILMORE: His measured caution yet firm resolve has won him praise, in contrast to other senior commanders who've been accused of pursuing a head-long rush to war.
Amnon's testimony is highly controversial, given the implications for some senior army commanders. As pressure builds in Israel for a full investigation, his evidence could prove pivotal. The chief of staff has now told senior officers involved in the war that they're not allowed to speak to the media.
Here outside the prime minister's office, hundreds sign a petition calling for the resignation of the prime minister, defense minister, and armed forces chief of staff. These are no peaceniks; the war was supported by an overwhelming majority of the Israeli public. But they're deeply dismayed by its conduct and outcome.