25 Israeli Soldiers testify of War Crimes against Gaza
Jul 15, 2009
It appears that the Israeli government is losing the battle in trying to stifle and hide its war crimes in last year's attack on Gaza. For months, international groups have condemned the wanton destruction of hospitals, U.N. facilities, and civilian houses, along with the Israeli army's use of civilians as human shields.
The Israeli government has brushed off those charges by claiming (1) they are biased against us in our attempt to "defend" ourselves from "terrorists" and "militants"; and (2) there are no credible witnesses to prove we had a policy of doing things that are considered "war crimes."
But now 25 Israeli soldiers who participated in the Gaza war, who witnessed what happened, have stepped forwad to testify against their own leaders and government.
This is an extraordinary step, because soldiers are always pressured into covering for their leaders. If they testify, they are called "traitors," and their lives can be in danger.
For this reason, the 25 soldiers in question have testified with their faces blacked out. To do otherwise might be a fatal mistake. None of them wants to end up dead like Yitzah Rabin in 1995. So this gives the Israeli government the opportunity to question the credibility of those soldiers, on the grounds that their testimony is "anonymous."
"The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) regrets the fact that another human rights organization has come out with a report based on anonymous and general testimony - without investigating their credibility," Israeli military spokeswoman Avital Leibovich said on Wednesday. She dismissed the document as "hearsay and word of mouth."
This official protest is pretty hollow, considering the fact that the accusations come, not from a single soldier, but from 25 of them. Do they all lack credibility? Are they are mentally insane? Any time someone goes against the official policy in time of war, I think it takes a lot of courage, and it is highly doubtful if any of them would make up stories just to please Amnesty International.
It will be interesting to see the outcome of this. I hope someone tracks the survival rate of these witnesses, so that the government cannot simply have them eliminated. Secondly, governments have a tendency to create wars in order to draw attention away from their own sins. This whole war crimes accusation could be drowned out by a war with Iran.
Perhaps the recent news of Israeli warships and a submarine passing through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea should be taken, as many say, as a "signal to Iran."
Sometimes pressing the issue of justice only makes matters worse. And that is part of the political blackmail used by governments to suppress charges against them in the world courts.
Dr. Stephen Jones