Israeli soldiers admit intentionally killing Palestinian civilians

The Sydney News.Net
Friday 20th March, 2009

Israeli soldiers who took part in the Gaza War in December and January say part of their mission was to kill Palestinian civilians and destroy their property.

The rules of engagement were permissive as far as killing civilians, and to intentionally destroy the property of Palestinian civilians, was concerned, according to statements by infantry soldiers and combat pilots who were engaged in the Gaza offensive.

Dozens of soldiers, graduates of the Yitzhak Rabin pre-military preparatory course at Oranim Academic College in Tivon, took part in a post-war discussion on February 13 at which the statements were made.

Publication of this development has received minimum coverage but Israeli newspaper Haaratz published many of the statements made by the soldiers on Thursday and Friday. Despite this the mainstream media has largely ignored the story, which runs counter to the Israeli military and government’s line that there was a high level of moral conduct by the military.

News of the discussion became public after a transcript of the soldiers’ discussion was published in the college newsletter.

Aside from the intentional killings, and destruction of property, there were also incidents which run counter to the army’s claims it went to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties. According to Haaretz newspaper, an infantry squad leader described an incident where an Israeli army sharpshooter shot a Palestinian mother and her two children. "There was a house with a family inside .... We put them in a room. Later we left the house and another platoon entered it, and a few days after that there was an order to release the family. They had set up positions upstairs. There was a sniper position on the roof," the soldier said.

"The platoon commander let the family go and told them to go to the right. One mother and her two children didn't understand and went to the left, but they forgot to tell the sharpshooter on the roof they had let them go and it was okay, and he should hold his fire and he ... he did what he was supposed to, like he was following his orders."

According to the squad leader: "The sharpshooter saw a woman and children approaching him, closer than the lines he was told no one should pass. He shot them straight away. In any case, what happened is that in the end he killed them.

"I don't think he felt too bad about it, because after all, as far as he was concerned, he did his job according to the orders he was given. And the atmosphere in general, from what I understood from most of my men who I talked to ... I don't know how to describe it .... The lives of Palestinians, let's say, is something very, very less important than the lives of our soldiers. So as far as they are concerned they can justify it that way," he said.

Haaretz reported another squad leader from the same brigade told of an incident where the company commander ordered that an elderly Palestinian woman be shot and killed; she was walking on a road about 100 meters from a house the company had commandeered.

The squad leader said he argued with his commander over the permissive rules of engagement that allowed the clearing out of houses by shooting without warning the residents beforehand. After the orders were changed, the squad leader's soldiers complained that "we should kill everyone there [in the center of Gaza]. Everyone there is a terrorist."

The squad leader said: "You do not get the impression from the officers that there is any logic to it, but they won't say anything. 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 Israeli army has fallen in the realm of ethics, really. It's what I'll remember the most."

The army was under the spotlight further on Friday with another Haaretz report disclosing how soldiers are having slogans and images depicting Palestinians in an unfavorable light on t-shirts.

The Adiv fabric-printing shop in south Tel Aviv says it handles a constant stream of customers, many of them soldiers in uniform, who come to order custom clothing featuring their unit's insignia, usually accompanied by a slogan and drawing of their choosing.

Dead babies, mothers weeping on their children's graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques - these are a few examples of the images Israeli army soldiers design these days to print on shirts they order to mark the end of training, or of field duty, said the Haretz report. The slogans accompanying the drawings are not exactly anemic either: A T-shirt for infantry snipers bears the inscription "Better use Durex," next to a picture of a dead Palestinian baby, with his weeping mother and a teddy bear beside him. A sharpshooter's T-shirt from the Givati Brigade's Shaked battalion shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull's-eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, in English, "1 shot, 2 kills." A "graduation" shirt for those who have completed another snipers course depicts a Palestinian baby, who grows into a combative boy and then an armed adult, with the inscription, "No matter how it begins, we'll put an end to it."

There are also plenty of shirts with blatant sexual messages, says the report. For example, the Lavi battalion produced a shirt featuring a drawing of a soldier next to a young woman with bruises, and the slogan, "Bet you got raped!" A few of the images underscore actions whose existence the army officially denies - such as "confirming the kill" (shooting a bullet into an enemy victim's head from close range, to ensure he is dead), or harming religious sites, or female or child non-combatants.

In many cases, the content is submitted for approval to one of the unit's commanders. The latter, however, do not always have control over what gets printed, because the artwork is a private initiative of soldiers that they never hear about. Drawings or slogans previously banned in certain units have been approved for distribution elsewhere. For example, shirts declaring, "We won't chill 'til we confirm the kill" were banned in the past (the army claims that the practice doesn't exist), yet the Haruv battalion printed some last year.

The slogan "Let every Arab mother know that her son's fate is in my hands!" had previously been banned for use on another infantry unit's shirt. A Givati soldier said this week, however, that at the end of last year, his platoon printed up dozens of shirts, fleece jackets and pants bearing this slogan.

"It has a drawing depicting a soldier as the Angel of Death, next to a gun and an Arab town," he explains. "The text was very powerful."

Does the design go to the commanders for approval?

The Givati soldier explaind, "Usually the shirts undergo a selection process by some officer, but in this case, they were approved at the level of platoon sergeant. We ordered shirts for 30 soldiers and they were really into it, and everyone wanted several items and paid NIS 200 on average."

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Comments on this story

03-21-09, 01:30 PM

Mmm just lovin' it!

This is a great achievement, i.e., we do not need useless rats wondering the earth. Get rid of Gaza and the bunch of you sympathizers should dig your trench for comfort in Gaza.

Professor Shyster
03-21-09, 01:24 PM

Job well done!

Hey Boys you’re making the natives a little restless. This is all fun and games, you know like cowboys and indians. Now let’s take a step back and look at all the fun imagery. Like I was saying, the Israelis are only shooting blanks or is that the Israelis are only shooting at blanks! Anyway, it’s laughable to read all the postings of criticism; this only shows the lack of depth perception by the mass viewers who wish to jump all over a mythical story. Hey, if this makes you feel better then KNOCK YOURSELVES OUT!

03-21-09, 12:21 AM

Israeli soldiers admit intentionally killing Palestinian civilians

This action is so inhuman. Every human being has a right to live & to be rediculed with slogans is unimaginable. Is this how we are rearing our future generation? With hatred?

03-21-09, 04:48 AM

What's New

This is not knew we all saw the Israel’s shoot and kill a 5 year old child years ago on TV an nothing happened. If you ever get to talk to a Palestinian you will learn that this has been happening for years. The Jews believe in killing children, the elderly and innocence itself. They think they are above the law and they are, as the international community is a bunch of gutless bastards... just go through the archive and see how many innocent children they have killed. Bring back Hitler he knew what sort of people these jews are, they are liars and thieves. I hate them

03-21-09, 08:50 AM

Unfortunately its become common place thoughout the world. Seems like its become normal behaviour. I wonder how much of this artical is propaganda. Seems Israel’s got some weeding out to do. These type of people are among us wherever you are and nomatter what religion.

03-21-09, 10:06 AM

Israeli soldiers admit intentionally killing Palestinian civilians

There can be no excuse for killing the innocent on either side of the fence, no matter who does the killing and no matter the reason. I sincerely hope that both sides will eventualy arrive to this realisation sooner rather than later.

03-21-09, 06:42 PM

This type of behavior will only get worse in years to come. It seems humanity is getting worse not better. The Americans are doing and have done the same thing in Iraq, so you wont find condemnation of Israel from USA or England for that matter. The good people left on earth have a tough job on earth to spread more love, hope, patience and faith, but its all we have left.

Janet P
03-21-09, 01:19 AM

Our best friend in the Middle East?

We should have let Adolf finish the job.

03-21-09, 03:10 PM

Israeli soldiers admit intentionally killing Palestinian civilians

Another misleading horseshit, headline. Your anti-Israel agenda is obvious to all but the braindead, Storm Front, anti-semites who like fleas on camels, infest these boards. Shame on you and them.

03-21-09, 01:23 AM

Israel should be brought to the ICC for GENOCIDE

What is the international community waiting for, to bring Israel and its present leaders to the ICC for crimes against humanity and genocide.


03-21-09, 03:20 AM

What comes around goes around

Hiltler knows what he was doing I guess !!!, Whatever nasty things these people do to the innocent, will come back to them or their families in the future, just as the saying goes,...... What comes around goes around.

03-22-09, 12:47 PM

All Palestinians are civilians

They have no uniformed military!
Almost all terrorists are civilians what kind of stupid headline is this?
Or is this headline aimed at people who have less then two brain cells firing?

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