Friday, March 20, 2009

"Thirst for Blood"

Israel has been hugely criticized around the world (and at this blog) for it's dismissive attitude towards civilian casualties in both the Gaza and Lebanon campaigns. Each time senior Israel defense officials and politicians have assured the world that they take the safety of civilians very seriously. Now, out of the mouths of the IDF's own soldiers:

Now testimony is emerging from within the ranks of soldiers and officers alleging a permissive attitude toward the killing of civilians and reckless destruction of property that is sure to inflame the domestic and international debate about the army’s conduct in Gaza. On Thursday, the military’s chief advocate general ordered an investigation into a soldier’s account of a sniper killing a woman and her two children who walked too close to a designated no-go area by mistake, and another account of a sharpshooter who killed an elderly woman who came within 100 yards of a commandeered house.

When asked why that elderly woman was killed, a squad commander was quoted as saying: “What’s great about Gaza — you see a person on a path, he doesn’t have to be armed, you can simply shoot him. In our case it was an old woman on whom I did not see any weapon when I looked. The order was to take down the person, this woman, the minute you see her. There are always warnings, there is always the saying, ‘Maybe he’s a terrorist.’ What I felt was, there was a lot of thirst for blood.”

The Haaretz column the NY Times is reporting on can be found here. I'm sure that as I type these words, right-wing Israeli and American bloggers are now excusing these incidents as "isolated" or accusing these soldiers of being traitors or not "real" Israelis or some other nonsense.

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