Mar 20, 2009

IDF in Gaza: Killing civilians, vandalism, and lax rules of engagement

By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent

During Operation Cast Lead, Israeli forces killed Palestinian civilians under permissive rules of engagement and intentionally destroyed their property, say soldiers who fought in the offensive. 

The soldiers are graduates of the Yitzhak Rabin pre-military preparatory course at Oranim Academic College in Tivon. Some of their statements made on Feb. 13 will appear Thursday and Friday in Haaretz. Dozens of graduates of the course who took part in the discussion fought in the Gaza operation. 

The speakers included combat pilots and infantry soldiers. Their testimony runs counter to the Israel Defense Forces' claims that Israeli troops observed a high level of moral behavior during the operation. The session's transcript was published this week in the newsletter for the course's graduates. 

The testimonies include a description by an infantry squad leader of an incident where an IDF sharpshooter mistakenly shot a Palestinian mother and her two children. "There was a house with a family inside .... We put them in a room. Later we left the house and another platoon entered it, and a few days after that there was an order to release the family. They had set up positions upstairs. There was a sniper position on the roof," the soldier said. 

"The platoon commander let the family go and told them to go to the right. One mother and her two children didn't understand and went to the left, but they forgot to tell the sharpshooter on the roof they had let them go and it was okay, and he should hold his fire and he ... he did what he was supposed to, like he was following his orders." 

According to the squad leader: "The sharpshooter saw a woman and children approaching him, closer than the lines he was told no one should pass. He shot them straight away. In any case, what happened is that in the end he killed them. 

"I don't think he felt too bad about it, because after all, as far as he was concerned, he did his job according to the orders he was given. And the atmosphere in general, from what I understood from most of my men who I talked to ... I don't know how to describe it .... The lives of Palestinians, let's say, is something very, very less important than the lives of our soldiers. So as far as they are concerned they can justify it that way," he said. 

Another squad leader from the same brigade told of an incident where the company commander ordered that an elderly Palestinian woman be shot and killed; she was walking on a road about 100 meters from a house the company had commandeered. 

The squad leader said he argued with his commander over the permissive rules of engagement that allowed the clearing out of houses by shooting without warning the residents beforehand. After the orders were changed, the squad leader's soldiers complained that "we should kill everyone there [in the center of Gaza]. Everyone there is a terrorist." 

The squad leader said: "You do not get the impression from the officers that there is any logic to it, but they won't say anything. To write 'death to the Arabs' on the walls, to take family pictures and spit on them, just because you can. I think this is the main thing: To understand how much the IDF has fallen in the realm of ethics, really. It's what I'll remember the most." 

More soldiers' testimonies will be published in Haaretz over the coming days.

See on Haaretz website 


Mohamed said...

Photo n.1

Photo n.2

Photo n.3

Photo n.4

Photo n.5

Photo n.6

Photo n.7

Photo n.8

No, they aren't fabricated.

Tom the Redhunter said...

And what's the difference between this and what your friends the Palestinians do?

The Israelis investigate and punish their soldiers when they violate the laws of war.

The Palestinians, heck, all Arabs, celebrate such behavior. You give them medals.

Don't believe me? Read about Samir Kuntar

Mohamed said...

Menachem Begin, the founder of Irgun Zionist group that committed many massacres against Palestinian villagers like Deir Yassin massacre(360 Palestinian killed), bombed King David Hotel when 91 persons were killed. Assigned as the Israeli prime minister in 1977.

Yitzhak Shamir, a former leader of Lehi Zionist terrorist group that committed bombings of Arab and British camps in 1947, and Deir Yassin massacre. Assigned as the 7th Israeli prime minister in 1983.

Ariel Sharon, the leader of Qibya massacre in 1953 when 69 Palestinians were killed. Assigned as the Israeli prime minister in 2001.

What now?


Are we comparing these relatively few Innocent Palestinian Victims with the Thousands of Suicide-bomber Victims all around the world?

What now? Or What's Next? reb

Mohamed said...

Let me tell you what's next..

When the victim can be compared to the killer, then "the next" is the destruction of morality and peace.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, The Angels of "Morality & Peace". But when and where are we to find their hiding place? reb

ShitStirrer said...

Mohamed et all,

"Yitzhak Shamir, a former leader of Lehi Zionist terrorist group..."

Some think Israel as a state is a direct replica of fascist nazy Germany during Hitler.

Let's wipe Israel off the map

This is the opinion of a young Russian woman. But as an aware American, I can't say I disagree much with her.

This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Mohamed - Your SnakeHunter friend has had Eye surgery; he had a cataract problem in both eyes. He wanted me to inform you that he posted an "Open Letter To Mohamed"
on his blog, and hopes to be back to his normal routine soon. - gba -

- Greybeard Albert -


Mohamed said...


Thanks for the message.

I've just visited Mr. Ralph on his blog. If I were close to him I would visit him with a bunch of flowers hoping him a speedy recovery, or if I knew his address I would send him a letter, but unfortunately I can't do both of them.
Instead I'd ask you as a friend of him who is able to visit him, if you gave him a bunch of flowers to give him a flower of them on behalf of me. That's all what I can do.

Thanks again,



What a nice gesture, many thanks, Mohamed!

Flowers convey an attitude; yours has already been rec'd!!! Thanks.
The other day in our local market,
I spotted a beautiful varigated rose. It cost $3, and what a great wife gave me $50 worth
of smiles for a week! reb