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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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