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Breaking Silence on Israeli War Crimes

Posted by terres on July 15, 2009

25 Israeli soldiers speak on Israeli war crimes in Gaza

GAZA WAR CRIMES
Source: BBC UK

Israeli soldiers denouncing Gaza war crimes, describe “the use of ‘permissive’ rules of engagement that cost civilian lives during the recent military campaign in Gaza.

israeli war crimes
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Following excerpts are from the same BBC report :

Israel soldiers speak out on Gaza

The troops said they had been urged to fire on any building or person that seemed suspicious and said civilians were sometimes used as human shields.

Breaking the Silence, a campaign group made up of Israeli soldiers, gathered the anonymous accounts.

Israel denies breaking the laws of war and dismissed the report as hearsay.

Breaking the Silence described most of the testimonies of soldiers who took part in Operation Cast Lead as “sober, regretful and shocked”.

Many of the testimonies are in line with claims made by human-rights organisations that Israeli military action in Gaza was indiscriminate and disproportionate.

According to testimonies from the 14 conscripts and 12 reserve soldiers:

  • Rules of engagement were either unclear or encouraged soldiers to do their utmost to protect their own lives whether or not Palestinian civilians were harmed.
  • Civilians were used as human shields, entering buildings ahead of soldiers
  • Large swathes of homes and buildings were demolished. Accounts say that this was often done because the houses might be booby-trapped, or cover tunnels. Testimony mentioned a policy referred to as “the day after”, whereby areas near the border where razed to make future military operations easier

According to various reports the overwhelming majority of Israeli troops are aggressive and poorly-disciplined, a fact that was confirmed in the latest “confessions.”

  • There was widespread vandalism of property of Palestinians
  • Soldiers firing at water tanks because they were bored, at a time of severe water shortages for Gazans
  • White phosphorus was used in civilian areas gratuitously and recklessly
  • Many of the soldiers said there had been very little direct engagement with Palestinian militants

The report says Israeli troops and the people who justify their actions are “slid[ing] together down the moral slippery slope.”

The report obviously assumes many of the readers are ignorant of the crimes of genocide and all other diabolical crimes against humanity committed by Israelis against Palestinians ever since the military occupation of Palestine began in 1947. This begs the question: since when did the Israelis occupy a high place above the “moral slippery slope?”

“This is an urgent call to Israeli society and its leaders to sober up and investigate anew the results of our actions,” Breaking the Silence says.

Israeli officials insist troops went to great lengths to protect civilians, that Hamas endangered non-combatants by firing from civilian areas and that homes and buildings were destroyed only when there was a specific military need to do so.

Israel said the purpose of the 22-day operation that ended on 18 January 2009 had been to end rocket fire from Gaza aimed at its southern towns.

Palestinian rights groups say about 1,400 Palestinians died during the operation. Thirteen Israelis died in the conflict, including 10 soldiers serving in Gaza.

According to the UN, the campaign damaged or destroyed more than 50,000 homes, 800 industrial properties, 200 schools, 39 mosques and two churches.

How did the Israeli military react to the report?

Israeli military spokeswoman Lt Col Avital Leibovich said: “The IDF regrets the fact that another human rights organisation has come out with a report based on anonymous and general testimony – without investigating their credibility.”

Dismissed the document as “hearsay and word of mouth,” she added:

“The IDF expects every soldier to turn to the appropriate authorities with any allegation,” Lt Col Leibovich added. “This is even more important where the harm is to non-combatants. The IDF has uncompromising ethical values which continue to guide us in every mission.”

[And if you don’t believe the Israeli Occupation Forces, ask the tens of thousands of slain Palestinians who would, no doubt, verify the Israeli claims.]

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Posted in human rights, human shields, Lt Col Leibovich, Operation Cast Lead, the day after | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Israel inflicted “wanton destruction”

Posted by terres on July 2, 2009

Perhaps “Slow Genocide” would have been a more appropriate term!

The following is a Reuters’ report concerning the latest Amnesty finding on some of Israeli crimes that are being committed in Gaza. Unfortunately, the report makes no mention of the atrocities committed by Israel before or after their 22-day bombardment of Gaza. Meanwhile, the slow genocide in Gaza continues …


A woman and a child made homeless after the destruction of their home, Gaza, January 2009 – © Amnesty International


The Abu ‘Aisha family home in Gaza City, bombed, 5 January 2009. ‘Amer Abu ‘Aisha, wife Naheel and three of four children died – © Amnesty International

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Amnesty says Israel “wantonly” destroyed Gaza

Thu Jul 2, 2009 5:58am EDT

http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE56118I20090702

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Amnesty International said on Thursday Israel inflicted “wanton destruction” in the Gaza Strip in attacks that often targeted Palestinian civilians during an offensive in December and January in the Hamas-run enclave.

The London-based rights group, in a 117-page report on the 22 days of fighting, also criticized the Islamist movement Hamas for rocket attacks on Israel, which it called “war crimes.”

Among other conclusions, Amnesty said it found no evidence to support Israeli claims that Gaza guerrillas deliberately used civilians as “human shields,” but it did, however, cite evidence that Israeli troops put children and other civilians in harm’s way by forcing them to remain in homes taken over by soldiers.

Amnesty International said some 1,400 Palestinians were killed in Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, including 300 children and hundreds of innocent civilians, a figure broadly in line with those from the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza and the independent Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

The Israeli military put the Palestinian death toll at 1,166 of whom 295 were civilians. Thirteen Israelis were killed, including three civilians, during the offensive Israel launched with the declared aim of curtailing cross-border rocket attacks.

Accusing Israel of “breaching laws of war,” Amnesty said: “Much of the destruction was wanton and deliberate, and was carried out in a manner and circumstances which indicated that it could not be justified on grounds of military necessity.”

Commenting on Amnesty’s allegations, the Israeli military said it operated in accordance with international law. It said the report ignored “efforts made by the Israel Defense Forces to minimize, as much as possible, harm to non-combatants.”

“In many cases, the Israel Defense Forces exercised measures of caution, including warning the civilian population before an attack,” the military said. “The Israel Defense Forces directed its attack only against military targets.”

A Hamas spokesman said the Amnesty report did not place enough emphasis on “crimes committed by Israel.”

“This report equates between the aggressor and the victim and ignores international laws that guarantee resistance against occupation,” the spokesman said.

U.N. INQUIRY

Israel and Hamas have both rejected accusations of war crimes during the Gaza fighting. Israel has refused to cooperate with a United Nations inquiry that is now gathering evidence, accusing the investigators of prejudice against it.

Amnesty said although rockets fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip rarely cause casualties, their use was “indiscriminate and hence unlawful under international law.” The rockets often sow fear and panic.

It also accused Hamas and other armed groups of endangering the lives of the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza by firing rockets and locating military equipment near homes.

The report however dismissed Israeli claims that Hamas had used Palestinian civilians as “human shields.”

Amnesty said it found no evidence that “Hamas or other armed groups forced residents to stay in or around buildings used by fighters, or that fighters prevented residents from leaving buildings or areas which had been commandeered by militants.”

But the report said in several cases Israeli soldiers used Palestinian civilians, including children, as “human shields, endangering their lives by forcing them to remain in or near houses which they took over and used as military positions.”

(Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Dominic Evans)

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

Posted in crimes against humanity, Gaza Strip, human shields, Israel's Operation Cast Lead, Occupied Palestine | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »