Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 19:04 pm (KSA) 16:04 pm (GMT)

Israeli soldiers say told to unjustly kill Gazans

More than 1,300 Palestinians were killed during Israel's most recent assault
More than 1,300 Palestinians were killed during Israel's most recent assault

Israeli soldiers described how they unjustly killed Palestinian civilians under relaxed rules of engagement during the 22-day Gaza assault and accused top Israeli officials of deep contempt for Palestinians, a journal published on Thursday reported.

The soldiers gathered last month to discuss their experiences during the assault and spoke of civilians being abused, acts of vandalism and destruction of homes and said they were commanded to do so, the journal of the Yitzhak Rabin pre-military academy said.

 To write 'death to the Arabs' on the walls, to take family pictures and spit on them, just because you can. I think this is the main thing: To understand how much the IDF has fallen in the realm of ethics, really. It's what I'll remember the most. 
Israeli squad leader

The soldiers, who were also graduates of the military academy, contradicted claims by the Israeli Defense Forces' that the troops obsevered a "high level of moral behvior" during Operation Cast Lead and told several stories, like an elderly Palestinian woman being gunned down 100 meters from her home for no apparent reason.

Wrong way

 The platoon commander let the family go and told them to go their right. One mother and her two children didn't understand and went to the left ... The sharpshooter saw (them) approaching him, closer than the lines he was told no one should pass. He shot them 
Israeli squad leader

One of the soldiers, an infantry squad leader, recalled an incident in which he said a soldier killed a Palestinian mother and her two children who turned the wrong way after troops ordered them out of their house.

"The platoon commander let the family go and told them to go their right. One mother and her two children didn't understand and went to the left. The sharpshooter saw (them) approaching him, closer than the lines he was told no one should pass. He shot them."

The squad leader said his comrade showed no remorse as he was ordered to do it.

Describing vandalism carried out by soldiers the squad leader said: "To write 'death to the Arabs' on the walls, to take family pictures and spit on them, just because you can. I think this is the main thing: To understand how much the IDF has fallen in the realm of ethics, really. It's what I'll remember the most."

Israeli army "world's most moral"

 The Israeli army is the most moral in the world, and I know what I'm talking about because I know what took place in the former Yugoslavia, in Iraq 
Israeli defense minister

Israeli defense Minister Ehud Barak rejected the claims and told public radio that "the Israeli army is the most moral in the world, and I know what I'm talking about because I know what took place in the former Yugoslavia, in Iraq."

"Of course there may be exceptions which are being talked about, and everything that has been said must be looked into," he added.

A military spokesman said the claims would be investigated if they are credible.

Meanwhile the academy director Dany Zamir told public radio: "Those were very harsh testimonies about unjustified shooting of civilians and destruction of property that conveyed an atmosphere in which one feels entitled to use unrestricted force against Palestinians."

Israel's Yesh Din human rights group echoed calls from several organizations for an independent inquiry into the Gaza assault and said six weeks since the operations in Gaza ended hundreds of testimonies had raised suspicion that Israel violated international law.

Israel's assault on Gaza was launched on Dec. 27 and resulted in the deaths of more than 1,300 Palestinians and the destruction of much of the infrastructure in the coastal strip.

Thirteen Israelis, three of them civilians, were also killed.

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