Israel’s dirty secrets in Gaza – updated
1. Donald Macintyre wrote in the Independent on 20 March 2009:
‘Israel was last night confronting a major challenge over the conduct of its 22-day military offensive in Gaza after testimonies by its own soldiers revealed that troops were allowed and, in some cases, even ordered to shoot unarmed Palestinian civilians.’
2. Amos Harel, Shooting and crying, Ha’aretz 20 March 2009
Less than a month after the end of Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, dozens of graduates of the Yitzhak Rabin pre-military preparatory program convened at Oranim Academic College in Kiryat Tivon. Since 1998 the program has prepared participants for what is considered meaningful military service. Many assume command positions in combat and other elite units of the Israel Defense Forces. The program’s founder, Danny Zamir, still heads it today and also serves as deputy battalion commander in a reserve unit.
The previous Friday, February 13, Zamir had invited combat soldiers and officers who graduated the program for a lengthy discussion of their experiences in Gaza. They spoke openly, but also with considerable frustration.
Following are extensive excerpts from the transcript of the meeting, as it appears in the program’s bulletin, Briza, which was published on Wednesday. The names of the soldiers have been changed to preserve their anonymity.
For non-Hebrew readers, the ever excellent Richard Silverstein at Tikkun has translations (and perceptive comment on the hierarchy of responsibility) of long passages from Amos Harel’s article which did not make it onto the English language version of Ha’aretz.
3. IDF soldiers ordered to shoot at Gaza rescuers, note says
Amira Hass writes in Haaretz 22 March 2009:
‘One of the main themes in news reports during the Gaza operation, and which appears in many testimonies, is that IDF soldiers shot at Palestinian and Red Cross rescuers, making it impossible to evacuate the wounded and dead. As a result, an unknown number of Palestinians bled to death as others cowered in their homes for days without medical treatment, waiting to be rescued.
The bodies of the dead lay outside the homes or on roadsides for days, sometimes as long as two weeks. Haaretz has reported a number of such cases, some of them as they happened. The document found in the house provides written proof that IDF commanders ordered their troops to shoot at rescuers.
Full report in Ha’aretz