Bisharat in ‘NYT’: Taking Israel to The Hague would promote peace and uphold the integrity of international law

ActivismIsrael/Palestine
on 29 Comments

Today on the New York Times website, law professor George Bisharat makes the case for putting Israel in the dock at the International Criminal Court. Bisharat argues it would be an opportunity to put Israel’s own interpretation of international law to judicial review and in the process end Israeli impunity.

From “Why Palestine Should Take Israel to Court in The Hague“:

Israeli leaders are unnerved for good reason. The I.C.C. could prosecute major international crimes committed on Palestinian soil anytime after the court’s founding on July 1, 2002.

Since the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada in 2000, the Israel Defense Forces, guided by its military lawyers, have attempted to remake the laws of war by consciously violating them and then creating new legal concepts to provide juridical cover for their misdeeds. For example, in 2002, an Israeli F-16 dropped a one-ton bomb on an apartment building in a densely populated Gaza neighborhood, killing a Hamas military leader, Salah Shehadeh, and 14 others, including his wife and seven children under the age of 15. In 2009, Israeli artillery killed more than 20 members of the Samouni family, who had sought shelter in a structure in the Zeitoun district of Gaza City at the bidding of Israeli soldiers. Last year, Israeli missiles killed two Palestinian cameramen working for Al Aksa television. Each of these acts, and many more, could lead to I.C.C. investigations.

The former head of the Israeli military’s international law division, Daniel Reisner, asserted in 2009: “International law progresses through violations. We invented the targeted assassination thesis and we had to push it. At first there were protrusions that made it hard to insert easily into the legal molds. Eight years later it is in the center of the bounds of legitimacy.”

Colonel Reisner is right that customary international law is formed by the actual practice of states that other states accept as lawful. But targeted assassinations are not widely accepted as legal. Nor are Israel’s other attempted legal innovations.

Israel has categorized military clashes with the Palestinians as “armed conflict short of war,” instead of the police actions of an occupying state — thus freeing the Israeli military to use F-16 fighter jets and other powerful weaponry against barely defended Palestinian populations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

It has designated individuals who fail to leave a targeted area after a warning as “voluntary human shields” who are therefore subject to lawful attack, despite the fact that warnings may not be effective and escape routes not clear to the victims.

And it has treated civilian employees of Hamas — including police officers, judges, clerks, journalists and others — as combatants because they allegedly support a “terrorist infrastructure.” Never mind that contemporary international law deems civilians “combatants” only when they actually take up arms.

All of these practices could expose Israeli political and military officials to prosecutions for war crimes. To be clear, the prosecutions would be for particular acts, not for general practices, but statements by Israeli officials explaining their policies could well provide evidence that the acts were intentional and not mere accidents of war.

Bisharat concludes:

If Palestinians succeed in getting the I.C.C. to examine their grievances, Israel’s campaign to bend international law to its advantage would finally be subjected to international judicial review and, one hopes, curbed. Israel’s dangerous legal innovations, if accepted, would expand the scope of permissible violence to previously protected persons and places, and turn international humanitarian law on its head. We do not want a world in which journalists become fair game because of their employers’ ideas.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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29 Responses

  1. Annie Robbins
    January 30, 2013, 11:21 am

    have attempted to remake the laws of war by consciously violating them and then creating new legal concepts to provide juridical cover for their misdeeds.

    exactly! link to mondoweiss.net

    As Eyal Weizman explains in Lawfare in Gaza: legislative attack

    International law can be thought of not as a static body of rules but rather as an endless series of conflicts over this border. The question is not which interpretation is right, but who has the power to force their interpretation into becoming authoritative. In this sense, international law does not merely legitimate violence but actually relies on it.

    In the section titled The elastic limits of law Weizman quotes the former legal adviser to the Israeli military, Daniel Reisner explaining that his job was about finding

    “untapped potential in international law” that would allow military actions in the grey zone: “International law develops through its violation… an act that is forbidden today becomes permissible if executed by enough countries..”

    • seafoid
      January 30, 2013, 11:50 am

      They also remade Judaism to provide moral cover for their cruelty

      link to electronicintifada.net

      “Israel’s former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu — one of the most senior theocrats in the Jewish State “ruled that there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on
      Gaza aimed at stopping the rocket launchings”

      • Mooser
        February 1, 2013, 1:25 pm

        “They also remade Judaism to provide moral cover for their cruelty”

        That may be what they think they are doing, Seafoid, and you are free to believe it if you wish, but I am sure they cannot do that no matter how much they may wish to, and no matter what the appearances may be. If Judaism is one of God’s gifts to the world, Her (sic) will not see it perverted.
        The Zionists may have the power to do a lot of things, but that one, well they haven’t got a prayer. Not a frickin prayer, literally. And if there’s any confusion, they can come and ask any of the thousands of Jews who still remember what it’s about.

        Besides, would you go to thieves and murderers for lessons in religion? Any fool who does that deserves what…welll, okay, he doesn’t, not really, but you get the point.

        But I am very tempted (were it not for a lot of pejorative implications, and a definite risk of Orientalism, so I’m not. ) to start talking to the more fervent and religiously self-determining Hasbaratchniks about Thuggee.

  2. pabelmont
    January 30, 2013, 11:29 am

    Adam and Annie and George Bisharat: beautiful article, very educational, and AMAZING that NYT published anything of the sort. I just trashed NYT and now wonder if I spoke too soon.

    Let’s hope I/L changes slowly enough that certain of Israel’s behavior will still be seen as war crimes by the time ICC takes them under advisement. I want those Israeli leaders who OK’d the trashing of Gaza 2008/9 and Lebanon 2006 ? to be in a seat hot enough that present and future leaders refrain from similar behavior. A bit too much to imagine that USA will refrain from anything, anytime, based on I/L or ICC.

    • pabelmont
      January 30, 2013, 11:48 am

      Moreover, Bisharat tells us (at NYT) that the settlements, which are illegal (that is, grave breaches of) under the Fourth Geneva Convention may be considered “war crimes”:

      Under the founding statute of the I.C.C., grave violations of the Geneva Conventions, including civilian settlements in occupied territories, are considered war crimes.

      This, if upheld, could lead to prosecution of every Israeli leader who supports (or supported) settlements, and every future leader who does not demand removal of the settlements. Perhaps also of the wall.

      There is always some ambiguity about settlers and settlements. The occupier may not resettle its own citizens in occupied territory, under G-IV, and the occupier may not confiscate land for other than necessary military purposes (I forget why, maybe I made it up). In any case, UNSC 465 (1980) called upon Israel, as I read it, to remove all settlers and dismantle all settlements (buildings?). I think both settlers residing inside occupied territory AND confiscation of land — either private land or public land — to build housing for them (to say nothing of highways) is a grave breach. I hope we’ll soon see.

  3. eljay
    January 30, 2013, 12:00 pm

    Zio-supremacists will nod vigorously in agreement with the assertion that international law is elastic and that “an act that is forbidden today [presumably because it is unjust or immoral] becomes permissible if executed by enough countries”.

    And then the tide will turn and Zio-supremacists will suffer blowback from their actions and those of their supremacist state, and “enough countries” will make it permissible. And Zio-supremacists will cry and wail and moan and insist that international law is not elastic and that their human rights must be respected and defended.

    Zio-surpemacists are hateful and immoral hypocrites.

    • seafoid
      January 30, 2013, 12:50 pm

      “geniehw – 01:29pm Jun 18, 2007 GMT (#520 of 527)

      The logic of the zionist argument is that if you cannot do everything and preferably all at the same time, you must not do anything. ”

      I wonder for how much longer the bots can keep this up.

  4. HarryLaw
    January 30, 2013, 12:05 pm

    George Bisherat would do well to push the one well documented war crime, that of transferring your own citizens into occupied territory in breach of article 49.6 of the Fourth Geneva Convention also incorporated into the Rome Convention [ICC] because this is an ongoing crime and the World court has already given its opinion on it by 15 judges to zero including the US judge, it is unlikely the ICC could come to any other verdict, as for those other alleged war crimes, the US/Israel would argue as being collateral damage, ridiculous I know, but it is not certain a court would prosecute, in my opinion Geneva 49.6 would be a slam dunk. The only thing to do now is to try and persuade Abbas and Co that they are failing in their duty to protect the Palestinians every day that goes by without the ICC complaint being expedited.

    • seafoid
      January 30, 2013, 12:38 pm

      It is noted that individual UK soldiers can be tried for war crimes but that Israeli soldiers are immune

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      • Mike_Konrad
        January 30, 2013, 1:19 pm

        It is noted that individual UK soldiers can be tried for war crimes but that Israeli soldiers are immune

        To be sure, Israel has its share of thugs.

        Have you looked at some of the Arab liberators?

        Blowing up pizza parlors and dance halls is not a way to make one’s cause respectable.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 30, 2013, 1:54 pm

        pizza parlor is so last decade. seriously, 2001? during the inifada. do you know how many palestinians have been picked off since then, not including the big massacre. just in the last week there have been over 6 young palestinians killed. and your still on code pizza? please update your hasbara.

        here’s something more current: Haifa: Former employee torches pizza parlor link to ynetnews.com

      • eljay
        January 30, 2013, 2:10 pm

        >> Blowing up pizza parlors and dance halls is not a way to make one’s cause respectable.

        Says the Zio-supremacist whose oppressive, colonialist, expansionst and supremacist state was born of terrorism and ethnic cleansing, and has been maintained and expanded by means of a 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder. Too funny.

        Behind the pizza parlor bombings lies a respectable cause: Palestinian freedom from Zio-supremacist oppression, aggression and colonization.

        Behind Israel’s immoral and unjust actions lies…a supremacist state.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 30, 2013, 2:17 pm

        eljay, i don’t support carnage like that, and at the same time i acknowledge i have no real concept of the desperation that leads young people to take action like that. decades of your people under extraordinary oppression. reminds me of a video i posted last night. link to youtube.com

      • eljay
        January 30, 2013, 2:42 pm

        >> eljay, i don’t support carnage like that …

        Just to clarify: My comment wasn’t an endorsement of (suicide) bombings any more than it was an endorsement of Israel’s immoral and unjust actions.

        I was merely pointing out that if you strip away incidents of violence, you are left with two causes – the Palestinians’ fight for freedom from oppression, and the Zionists’ supremacist state – and only one of those two causes can ever be described as respectable.

      • Woody Tanaka
        January 30, 2013, 3:39 pm

        “Blowing up pizza parlors and dance halls is not a way to make one’s cause respectable.”

        More respectible than anything the zionists have done over the last 40 years. Better a pizza parlor and a dance hall than one Cast Lead.

      • Woody Tanaka
        January 30, 2013, 3:44 pm

        “To be sure, Israel has its share of thugs.”

        Then you demand that all of Israel’s thugs be tried in the Hague for war crimes?

      • seafoid
        January 30, 2013, 3:45 pm

        Good old pizza parlors .

        In reality Israeli dance halls are more likely to collapse of their own accord. Israel is renowned for its shoddy building. But you won’t hear that from the hasbaradim.

        link to youtube.com

        link to youtube.com

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        The Versailles wedding hall (Hebrew: אולמי ורסאי), located in Talpiot, Jerusalem, is the site of the worst civil disaster in Israel’s history. At 22:43 on May 24, 2001, during the wedding of Keren and Asaf Dror, a large portion of the third floor of the four-story building collapsed. As a result, 23 people fell to their deaths through two stories, including the groom’s 80-year-old grandfather and his three-year-old second cousin, the youngest victim. Another 380 were injured, including the bride who suffered serious pelvic injuries that required surgery.[1] Asaf, who escaped serious injury, carried her in his arms from the rubble

        And I guess it would be remiss of me not to mention the Maccabiah Games bridge as well .

        link to en.wikipedia.org

      • thetumta
        January 31, 2013, 8:05 pm

        Perhaps the US could provide endless modern weapons to the forces resisting occupation anywhere including Palestine as well. MAD.
        Then when a pizza parlor gets blown up anywhere, everyone could claim “collateral damage”.

        Why should the US/Israel thugs have a monopoly on murdering non-combatants and effective propaganda to cover it?

        Hej!

      • Mooser
        February 1, 2013, 8:08 pm

        “Blowing up pizza parlors and dance halls is not a way to make one’s cause respectable.”

        I know, that kind of stuff is crass. But when you blow up the King David hotel full of civilians, or shell the Arab quarters of Jaffa to clear them for Zionist occupation, that’s Zionist !!

        Konrad, do you really not know how the Zionists got “Israel”? Or are you just as baldly mendacious as my scalp?

    • American
      January 30, 2013, 12:57 pm

      HarryLaw says:

      George Bisherat would do well to push the one well documented war crime, that of transferring your own citizens into occupied territory in breach of article 49.6 of the Fourth Geneva Convention also incorporated into the Rome Convention [ICC] because this is an ongoing crime and the World court has already given its opinion on it by 15 judges to zero including the US judge, it is unlikely the ICC could come to any other verdict, as for those other alleged war crimes,”>>>>

      That’s my non expert legal opinon also. That should be a slam dunk. I dont’ think I would get into the war crimes by Israel, much as they should be gotten into…because that opens up a whole other cans of worms of comparisons of crimes of Hamas and Isr.
      Howver I would like some expert legal opinon on how much weight ‘the pattern’ of crimes/actions the statutes say is considered ….and the determination that “result” of actions regardless of ‘motivation’ can be considered in the ‘genocide’ question.

      But seems to me the immediate and priority goal of going to the ICC should be
      getting Israel on the Isr transfer of their people to settlements on Palestine land.

    • Hostage
      January 30, 2013, 1:13 pm

      The only thing to do now is to try and persuade Abbas and Co that they are failing in their duty to protect the Palestinians every day that goes by without the ICC complaint being expedited.

      I’ve noted here several times in the past that Palestine has already filed a criminal complaint in Hague, and that it is the Prosecutors who have been dragging their feet to avoid doing something about the crimes committed on their territory since 2002. I’ve been utterly amazed by the fact that the Palestinian Solidarity Movement fixated on the Goldstone report and failed to occupy the Hague and noisily demand justice on the basis of the much more important and relevant 2009 PA declaration and complaint.

      Some experts claim that only a non-member state can make a declaration granting the Court retroactive jurisdiction. So its vitally important for the Court to acknowledge the validity of its jurisdiction under the PA declaration (which applies to crimes committed since July 2002) before Palestine formally becomes a State Party to the Statute.

      David Bosco has an article at The Multilateralist reminding people about the fact that Palestine is not holding up the show:

      All the stories I’ve seen on Malki’s comments today make a basic error about the way the ICC operates: they assume that Palestine will be able to bring Israeli activity to the attention of the court only once Palestine formally joins the court. Al Jazeera’s story includes this passage:
      The Palestinians are yet to join the ICC, which prosecutes charges of genocide, war crimes and other major human rights violations. They must first apply to join the court, and once a member they could refer Israel for investigation.

      In fact, the Rome Statute allows non-member states to give the court jurisdiction over their territory even absent a decision to become a court member. Palestine has already attempted to do so: in the wake of the 2008-2009 Gaza War, the justice minister of the Palestinian Authority submitted a declaration purporting to give the court jurisdiction over relevant crimes committed on Palestinian soil for “an indeterminate period.”

      The incorrect assumption that Palestine must somehow set the ICC in motion reflects a larger confusion about the court. Casual observers, including many journalists, tend to think of the ICC process as state-driven, akin to the International Court of Justice or the World Trade Organization. In those institutions, state action is essential to setting in motion the legal machinery.

      For the most part, the ICC doesn’t work that way. It is a prosecutor-driven institution. The ICC’s founding document gives the prosecutor the power to initiate investigations on his or her own, assuming the court has jurisdiction. And the prosecutor has the sole discretion to decide which alleged crimes to pursue and which to ignore. The Palestinians can tell the court about any and all Israeli acts they believe are illegal–including settlements–but the prosecutor alone decides whether to pursue them and whether to bring any charges.

      Threatening to take Israel to the ICC may be good theater, but it’s not much more than that. Palestine has already attempted to give the court jurisdiction. It is now up to the court to decide whether that declaration has force. In April of last year–several months before the UN took up the question of Palestine’s status–the prosecutor decided that he had no competence to decide whether Palestine was a state capable of granting the court jurisdiction. But in making that decision, the prosecutor wrote this:

      The Office could in the future consider allegations of crimes committed in Palestine, should competent organs of the United Nations or eventually the Assembly of States Parties resolve the legal issue [of statehood].

      As the prosecutor framed the issue, last year’s General Assembly vote recognizing Palestine as a non-member state should have resolved the statehood question. The relevant issue now is not what Palestine will do, but what the court will do.

      link to bosco.foreignpolicy.com

      • Mooser
        February 1, 2013, 1:28 pm

        “Hostage says:
        January 30, 2013 at 1:13 pm “

        Ah! There’s what I was hoping to see after I read the article and went through the comments!

  5. DICKERSON3870
    January 30, 2013, 4:05 pm

    RE: “Since the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada in
    2000, the Israel Defense Forces, guided by its military lawyers, have attempted to remake the laws of war by consciously violating them and then creating new legal concepts to provide juridical cover for their misdeeds. . .
    ~ Bisharat

    SEE: “The Dogs of War: The Next Intifada”, By Uri Avnery, Counterpunch, 9/03/11

    [EXCERPT] . . . The second (“al-Aqsa”) intifada started after the breakdown of the 2000 Camp David conference and Ariel Sharon’s deliberately provocative “visit” to the Temple Mount. The Palestinians held non-violent mass demonstrations. The army responded with selective killings. A sharpshooter accompanied by an officer would take position in the path of the protest, and the officer would point out selected targets – protesters who looked like “ringleaders”. They were killed.
    This was highly effective. Soon the non-violent demonstrations ceased and were replaced by very violent (“terrorist”) actions. With those the army was back on familiar ground. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – link to counterpunch.org

  6. DICKERSON3870
    January 30, 2013, 4:10 pm

    RE: “Israel’s dangerous legal innovations, if accepted, would expand the scope of permissible violence to previously protected persons and places, and turn international humanitarian law on its head.. . .” ~ Bisharat

    ● MY COMMENT: This is yet another reason that I fear Revisionist Zionism and Likudnik Israel (specifically by virtue of their inordinate sway over the U.S.) might very well be an “existential threat” to the values of The Enlightenment! ! !

    EXAMPLES OF ZIONISM’S VALUES TRUMPING (OVERRIDING) THE VALUES OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT HERE IN THE U.S.

    “How We Became Israel”, By Andrew J. Bacevich, The American Conservative, 9/10/12
    LINK – link to theamericanconservative.com
    “America Adopts the Israel Paradigm”, by Philip Ghiraldi, Antiwar.com, 7/05/12
    LINK – link to original.antiwar.com
    “Obama’s kill list policy compels US support for Israeli attacks on Gaza”, By Glenn Greenwald, guardian.co.uk, 11/15/12
    LINK – link to guardian.co.uk
    ‘Israelis are helping write US laws, fund US campaigns, craft US war policy’, by Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss, 6/30/12
    LINK – link to mondoweiss.net
    “Report: Israeli model underlies militarization of U.S. police”, By Muriel Kane, Raw Story, 12/04/11
    LINK – link to rawstory.com
    “David Yerushalmi, Islam-Hating White Supremacist Inspires Anti-Sharia Bills Sweeping Tea Party Nation”, by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 3/02/11
    LINK – link to richardsilverstein.com
    “Boston airport security program rife with racial profiling has Israeli links”, by Alex Kane, Mondoweiss, 8/14/12
    LINK – link to mondoweiss.net

    P.S. “Down, down, down we [the U.S.] go into the deep, dark abyss; hand in hand with Israel.”

  7. DICKERSON3870
    January 30, 2013, 4:24 pm

    RE: “To be clear, the prosecutions would be for particular acts, not for general practices, but statements by Israeli officials explaining their policies could well provide evidence that the acts were intentional and not mere accidents of war.” ~ Bisharat

    SEE: “IDF rabbinate publication during Gaza war: We will show no mercy on the cruel”, By Amos Harel, Haaretz, 1/26/09

    [EXCERPTS] During the fighting in the Gaza Strip, the religious media – and on two occasions, the Israel Defense Forces weekly journal Bamahane – were full of praise for the army rabbinate. The substantial role of religious officers and soldiers in the front-line units of the IDF was, for the first time, supported also by the significant presence of rabbis there.
    The chief army rabbi, Brigadier General Avichai Rontzki, joined the troops in the field on a number of occasions, as did rabbis under his command.
    Officers and soldiers reported that they felt “spiritually elevated” and “morally empowered” by conversations with rabbis who gave them encouragement before the confrontation with the Palestinians.
    But what exactly was the content of these conversations and of the plethora of written material disseminated by the IDF rabbinate during the war? A reservist battalion rabbi told the religious newspaper B’Sheva last week that Rontzki explained to his staff that their role was not “to distribute wine and challah for Shabbat to the troops,” but “to fill them with yiddishkeit and a fighting spirit.”
    An overview of some of the army rabbinate’s publications made available during the fighting reflects the tone of nationalist propaganda that steps blatantly into politics, sounds racist and can be interpreted as a call to challenge international law when it comes to dealing with enemy civilians.
    Haaretz has received some of the publications through Breaking the Silence, a group of former soldiers who collect evidence of unacceptable behavior in the army vis-a-vis Palestinians. Other material was provided by officers and men who received it during Operation Cast Lead. Following are quotations from this material:
    [There is] a biblical ban on surrendering a single millimeter of it [the Land of Israel] to gentiles, though all sorts of impure distortions and foolishness of autonomy, enclaves and other national weaknesses. We will not abandon it to the hands of another nation, not a finger, not a nail of it.” This is an excerpt from a publication entitled “Daily Torah studies for the soldier and the commander in Operation Cast Lead,” issued by the IDF rabbinate. The text is from “Books of Rabbi Shlomo Aviner,” who heads the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva in the Muslim quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem.
    The following questions are posed in one publication: “Is it possible to compare today’s Palestinians to the Philistines of the past? And if so, is it possible to apply lessons today from the military tactics of Samson and David?” Rabbi Aviner is again quoted as saying: “A comparison is possible because the Philistines of the past were not natives and had invaded from a foreign land … They invaded the Land of Israel, a land that did not belong to them and claimed political ownership over our country … Today the problem is the same. The Palestinians claim they deserve a state here, when in reality there was never a Palestinian or Arab state within the borders of our country. Moreover, most of them are new and came here close to the time of the War of Independence.”
    The IDF rabbinate, also quoting Rabbi Aviner, describes the appropriate code of conduct in the field: “When you show mercy to a cruel enemy, you are being cruel to pure and honest soldiers. This is terribly immoral. These are not games at the amusement park where sportsmanship teaches one to make concessions. This is a war on murderers. ‘A la guerre comme a la guerre.’”

    . . . In addition to the official publications, extreme right-wing groups managed to bring pamphlets with racist messages into IDF bases. One such flyer is attributed to “the pupils of Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg” – the former rabbi at Joseph’s Tomb and author of the article “Baruch the Man,” which praises Baruch Goldstein, who massacred unarmed Palestinians in Hebron. It calls on “soldiers of Israel to spare your lives and the lives of your friends and not to show concern for a population that surrounds us and harms us. We call on you … to function according to the law ‘kill the one who comes to kill you.’ As for the population, it is not innocent … We call on you to ignore any strange doctrines and orders that confuse the logical way of fighting the enemy.” . . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to haaretz.com

    • DICKERSON3870
      January 30, 2013, 4:31 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “‘You are fighting a religious war against gentiles’: What rabbis told Israeli soldiers in Gaza war”, By Mail Foreign Service, The Daily Mail, 3/20/09

      Rabbis in the Israeli army told battlefield troops in January’s Gaza offensive that they were fighting a ‘religious war’ against gentiles, it has been revealed.
      An army commander wrote of the shocking command in an Israeli newspaper today – one day after it emerged that Israeli soldiers were told they could kill innocent civilians during the war.

      ‘Their message was very clear: we are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the gentiles who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land,’ the commander said.
      The account by Ram, a pseudonym to shield the soldier’s identity, was published by the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper in the second day of revelations that have rocked the Israeli military.
      They were leaked from a February 13 meeting of armed forces members to share their Gaza experiences.

      Some veterans, alumni of an Israel Defence Force (IDF) military academy, told of the killing of civilians and their impression that deep contempt for Palestinians pervaded the ranks of the Israeli forces.
      The institution’s director, Danny Zamir, confirmed that Thursday’s published accounts were authentic.
      In longer excerpts in its Friday ‘Week’s End’ edition, the daily quoted ‘Ram’ as saying his impression of the 22-day operation was ‘the feeling of an almost religious mission’. . .
      . . . the rabbinate’s message imparted to many soldiers the sense that “this operation was a religious war”.

      A squad commander from Ram’s Givat Brigade, named as Aviv, recounted his misgivings about orders to break down doors with armoured vehicles and shoot anyone inside, floor by floor. In the event, the order was amended to include ‘operating megaphones’ so advancing troops could tell people they had five minutes to get out or be killed.
      Aviv said ‘there was a very annoying moment’ when he briefed his men and one challenged that order, saying: ‘Yeah? Anyone who is in there is a terrorist, that’s a known fact. . .
      ‘And then his buddies join in: “We need to murder any person who’s in there, yeah, any person who’s in Gaza is a terrorist’ and all the other things that they stuff our heads with, in the media,’ Aviv said. . .

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to dailymail.co.uk

      • Mooser
        February 1, 2013, 1:36 pm

        ‘You are fighting a religious war against gentiles’

        The Rabbi intoned, in a voice which thundered the Last Trump, if it was caught in a faulty garage-door opener. He was inspiring the troops to glorious deeds! They cheered him to the echo, but one small Private raised his hand, and looking sheepishly out from under inch-thick coke-bottle specatcles, had a question. The Chef Rabbi (everybody has two jobs in the IDF) glared and said “Yes, Private Mooser?” Who gulped and asked: “All at once, sir? That doesn’t seem very smart, considering”.

  8. Citizen
    January 30, 2013, 5:03 pm

    At 5PM today, on Wolf Blitzer’s CNN news show, discussion of Hagel vetting. Wolf introduced the topic by saying, essentially, that Kerry sailed to job, but congress will be much harder on Hagel.

  9. Tzombo
    January 31, 2013, 5:40 am

    “For example, in 2002, an Israeli F-16 dropped a one-ton bomb on an apartment building in a densely populated Gaza neighborhood, killing a Hamas military leader, Salah Shehadeh, and 14 others, including his wife and seven children under the age of 15.”

    I was in Gaza when this happened, we went to the scene of the bombing early in the morning at about 6 (the bombing had taken place at midnight). The press had already left, but there were a lot of people around. I remember the smell most of all, the smell of burnt flesh. And the dust that was a building that had been pulverised along with the people in it, was everywhere. The building next door where the neighbour walked around in a daze, locking doors that no longer locked anything out because half the wall was gone. His television was still playing though.

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