Fundamental Human Rights

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Posts Tagged ‘Israeli soldiers’

Breaking Silence on Israeli War Crimes

Posted by terres on July 15, 2009

25 Israeli soldiers speak on Israeli war crimes in Gaza

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 »

Jewish Settler Violence Against Palestinians Rises

Posted by terres on October 2, 2008

‘Hundreds join’ settler violence

BBC News Channel – Thursday, 2 October 2008

Hundreds of [Jewish] settlers are engaged in violence against Palestinians and Israeli soldiers, the senior Israeli commander in the West Bank has said.

Hundreds of settlers are engaged in violence against Palestinians and Israeli soldiers, the senior Israeli commander in the West Bank has said.

Majr-Gen Gadi Shamni said diverting military resources to deal with settlers impaired the army’s ability to carry out operations against militants.

A recent UN report recorded 222 acts of settler violence in the first half of 2008 compared with 291 in all of 2007.

Palestinians have long complained of settler harassment and intimidation.

They have also complained the Israeli military does little to stop or restrain the settlers.

Israeli settlers in Hebron are notorious for their violent actions against Palestinians. Source: AIC. Image may be subject to copyright.

An Encounter with Settlers in the Streets of Hebron

The heart of Hebron has been occupied by approximately 500 Israeli settlers who claim the right to the city and its holy places. Despite the fact that their presence is illegal under international law, they have managed to violently seize numerous homes in the centre of the city and terrorized the local Palestinian population. Ironically, Israel has stationed a strong army force in the city in order to protect the 500 settlers but not the 170.000 Palestinian inhabitants. The city consequently displays a life that cannot but remind one of a pre-1994 apartheid South Africa. Since the Oslo Accords, Hebron is divided in two parts, with H1 falling under Palestinian authority and security control and H2 falling under Israeli control. However, the Israeli army conducts operations throughout the city, clearly violating the Oslo terms. It is not until visiting Hebron that one understands why the term apartheid is so often coined in relation to the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Hebron’s separated world leaves little to the imagination: different rights belong to different population groups and the tiny minority rules. In order to understand the situation in the West Bank it is a necessity to face the reality of Hebron. Unfortunately, in our wanderings through Hebron, we got to the see the ugliest face of the city in a taste of reality that was more than we bargained for. Rianne Van Doeveren for the Alternative Information Center (AIC)

‘Significant change’

“In the past, only a few dozen individuals took part in such activity but today that number has grown into the hundreds. That’s a very significant change,” Maj-Gen Shamni told the Israeli Haaretz newspaper.

“The margins [in the settler community] are expanding, because they are enjoying a tailwind and the backing of part of the leadership, both rabbinical and public, whether in explicit statements or tacitly” ~ Maj-Gen Gadi Shamni

“These hundreds are engaged in conspiratorial actions against Palestinians and the security forces. It’s a very grave phenomenon.”

“This is harming our ability to carry out security missions in the territories. We have to divert our efforts to there from other issues.

“The margins [in the settler community] are expanding, because they are enjoying a tailwind and the backing of part of the leadership, both rabbinical and public, whether in explicit statements or tacitly.”

The general said that in some cases Israeli soldiers who had intervened to stop settlers from attacking Palestinians had themselves been attacked by settlers.

“The majority [of settlers] here act normally. We’re talking about a hard core of a few hundred activists,” Maj-Gen Shamni said.

‘Wind of extremism’

Israeli political leaders have made comments along similar lines recently.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has spoken of an “evil wind of extremism” threatening Israel’s democracy.

This was in reaction to a pipe bomb attack on a leading Israeli academic and critic of the occupation of Palestinian land by presumed hard-line right-wingers.

Mr Olmert has also described a mass attack by settlers on the West Bank village of Asira al-Qabiliya as a “pogrom”.

Settlers have said the attack was in response to the wounding of a nine-year-old boy by a Palestinian who had been trying to set fire to an empty house in the near-by Yitzhar settlement.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak has urged tougher penalties for settlers who attack Palestinian property.

About 500,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, among a population of about 2.5 million Palestinians.

All settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this. [Emphasis added.] Copyright author(s) or respective News Agency.

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Posted in East Jerusalem, occupied territories, pogrom, rabbinical rules, west bank | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »