Friday, 20 March 2009

Reports of Israeli War Crimes in New York Times

See the front page of today's New York Times for a story entitled 'Soldiers' Accounts of Gaza Killings Raise Furor in Israel: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/20/world/middleeast/20gaza.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&hp. It includes the following:
Now testimony is emerging from within the ranks of soldiers and officers alleging a permissive attitude toward the killing of civilians and reckless destruction of property that is sure to inflame the domestic and international debate about the army’s conduct in Gaza. On Thursday, the military’s chief advocate general ordered an investigation into a soldier’s account of a sniper killing a woman and her two children who walked too close to a designated no-go area by mistake, and another account of a sharpshooter who killed an elderly woman who came within 100 yards of a commandeered house. When asked why that elderly woman was killed, a squad commander was quoted as saying: “What’s great about Gaza — you see a person on a path, he doesn’t have to be armed, you can simply shoot him. In our case it was an old woman on whom I did not see any weapon when I looked. The order was to take down the person, this woman, the minute you see her. There are always warnings, there is always the saying, ‘Maybe he’s a terrorist.’ What I felt was, there was a lot of thirst for blood.”

4 comments:

Blackstar said...

The Haaretz
has already published several pieces about this.

aonghus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ally said...

For more information on this, check blog.amnestyusa.org.

Also HRW.

Charlie H. Ettinson said...

This is truly upsetting stuff and it's highly encouraging to see that Israel is taking these claims seriously and is investigating them.

It will also be crucial to verify--if such accounts are accurate--whether they reflect widespread practice or if they reflect the anomalous behaviour of a few very rotten apples. If there is a true, institutional decay, reflected by this type of behaviour as a policy then it must be rooted out.

Israeli media has already pointed out that none of the soldiers who have come forward with these stories actually saw any of the incidents they describe. This doesn’t make them untrue; it just means that a serious investigation is required and that accusations do not equal guilt. It's doubtful that Israel had a policy of shooting all women, children and the elderly.