Thursday, March 19, 2009

the gaza tragedy

The BBC news headline called it "abuse" and "vandalism". Why the delicacy ? The reported words of an Israeli described what it was "cold blooded murder". The testimonies were published by the military academy at Oranim College.

"The testimonies conveyed an atmosphere in which one feels entitled to use unrestricted force against Palestinians," academy director Dany Zamir told public radio.
"The climate in general was that lives of Palestinians are much, much less important than the lives of our soldiers " A soldier's testimony.
The soldiers' testimonies also reportedly told of an unusually high intervention by military and non-military rabbis, who circulated pamphlets describing the war in religious terminology.
"All the articles had one clear message," one soldier said. "We are the people of Israel, we arrived in the country almost by miracle, now we need to fight to uproot the gentiles who interfere with re-conquering the Holy Land.Many soldiers' feelings were that this was a war of religion."

The soldiers’ testimonies include accounts of an unarmed old woman being shot at a distance of 100 yards, a woman and her two children being killed after Israeli soldiers ordered them from their house into the line of fire of a sniper and soldiers clearing houses by shooting anyone they encountered on sight.
“That’s the beauty of Gaza. You see a man walking, he doesn’t have to have a weapon, and you can shoot him,” one soldier told Danny Zamir, the head of the Rabin pre-military academy
"When we entered a house, we were supposed to bust down the door and start shooting inside and just go up storey by storey… I call that murder..." One non-commissioned officer told Mr Zamir

1,434 people dead, 960 of them civilians.

Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio that "I still say we have the most moral army in the world. Of course there may be exceptions..."

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