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IDF soldiersWhen I first read these accounts of supposed Israeli atrocities during the Gaza war, it struck me that the headline of the article was 100000x worse than anything actually mentioned in the article itself. I couldn’t help but thinking ‘so what?’ after reading what the article told me. The main ‘atrocities’ that it relates is a story of a civilian being shot by accident, and of a civilian reportedly being  killed because she was suspected of being a suicide bomber. There are also accounts of Israeli soldiers vandalizing civilian houses. The incidents are presented in such a way as to demonize the IDF and seemingly try to make a moral equivalence between the IDF and Hamas. But at the end of the day, the stories related are 1)based on hearsay and 2)even if true, are things that happen in every war. Not that this detracts from the tragedy of the stories, if true – of course accidental and unnecessary deaths are tragic. But to try and prove that the IDF is immoral and evil based on these stories is ridiculous. Give me a story of soldiers rounding up women and raping them in front of their children, and getting away with it without any disciplinary action, and only then  can we talk. A story about an individual soldier vandalizing his enemy’s house in the fog of war is not exactly an atrocity. War is hell, and it can bring out the worst in people. If these incidents make up all the dirt that Ha’aretz could muster up to demonize the IDF, then really what it proves is that the IDF is indeed doing a fantastic job.

Melanie Phillips at the Spectator took the time to analyze the “facts” that the article presents, and gives us a little background on who exactly is making these claims. I highly recommend you take the time to read it:

On his eponymous BBC TV show this morning, I listened open-mouthed as Andrew Marr invited Tory foreign affairs spokesman William Hague to express his views about the

pretty appalling looking reports coming out of Israel where members of the Israeli Defence Force who were involved in the Gaza operation have talked about effectively being told to shoot at civilians.

Hague replied:

Well those are absolutely appalling stories. There is no question about that. We don’t yet know the truth of them. I think it’s very important to say that. This is evidence that now has to be looked at, of course, by Israel’s military investigations unit; and it is a good thing that Israel does have provision for that, for investigating these things and for bringing to book any who were responsible for behaving in such a way. But we will expect… I think across the world, we will expect Israel to deal decisively with anybody who committed such crimes. It will be very important for Israel to do that if it is to keep any moral authority in these situations in the future. So we’re all appalled by that and we hope that it will be dealt with.

Of course Hague was careful to say the truth of this evidence was not yet known. But there is no evidence.  So far, there is simply nothing to prove or disprove from these reports of the soldiers’ discussion carried in Ha’aretz last week, here and here — just innuendo, rumour and hearsay, demonstrably (read the second account) wrenched out of context and refracted through the patent prejudice of the soldiers’ instructor Danny Zamir, an ultra-leftist who had previously been jailed for refusing to guard settlers at a religious ceremony and who said of the soldiers who spoke at the meeting in question that they  reflected an atmosphere inside the army of ‘contempt for, and forcefulness against, the Palestinians.’

So what are these

pretty appalling looking reports

and

absolutely appalling stories?

There are precisely two charges of gratuitous killing of Palestinian civilians under allegedly explicit orders to do so. One is what even Ha’aretz made clear was an accidental killing, when two women misunderstood the evacuation route the Israeli soldiers had given them and walked into a sniper’s gunsights as a result. Moreover, the soldier who said this has subsequently admitted he didn’t see this incident – he wasn’t even in Gaza at the time – and had merely reported rumour and hearsay.

The second charge is based on a supposedly real incident in which, when an elderly woman came close to an IDF unit, an officer ordered that they shoot her because she was approaching the line and might have been a suicide bomber. The soldier relating this story did not say whether or not the woman in this story actually was shot. Indeed, since he says ‘from the description of what happened’ it would appear this was merely hearsay once again. And his interpretation was disputed by another soldier who said:

She wasn’t supposed to be there, because there were announcements and there were bombings. Logic says she shouldn’t be there. The way you describe it, as murder in cold blood, that isn’t right.

So two non-atrocity atrocities, then. What else?

(Read the rest here)

And be sure to watch the movie that I posted here in which a British Colonel talks about how “there has [never] been a time in the history of warfare when any country has done more to reduce civilian casualties than the Israel Defence Force is doing today in Gaza.” Here it is again to save you a click:

[UPDATED 1:00am]

I also just found this:

Allegations that IDF soldiers deliberately shot and killed Palestinian civilians in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead have been found to be categorically untrue in official army investigations, an IDF source told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

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One Response to “[UPDATED] The IDF Blood Libel”

  1. Margarita says:

    Great blog Shari, I will definetley pass it on to some friends that need to be properly inform. keep it up ! =)

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