Saturday, March 28, 2009

Our "friends" in Israel

Gaza's over, and we don't have to think about it anymore. Whatever happened, Israel successfully defended itself against the terrorists and life is back to normal.

Right?

Sorry. There's news out that we need to pay attention to. While the Israeli war in Gaza was going on, I was unwilling to describe it as a war of genocide, or a war of terror, or a war on civilians. Apparently I was wrong.

The news isn't coming from anti-Semites here, or Arab or Palestinian organs in the Middle East, but from legitimate Israeli news sources.

You should read or listen to the story in its entirety, but here are some highlights:

WESTERVELT: Shaul says some of the soldiers he's interviewed also say they destroyed civilian property and homes, actions that seemed to have little or no tactical purpose or necessity. Some soldiers, he says, called it gratuitous and stupid.

Soldiers interviewed by the Military Institute and Breaking the Silence also allege the army's chief rabbi used an inflammatory religious and nationalist rhetoric to encourage soldiers to see the Gaza attack as a sacred fight to expel non-Jews from Jewish land.

The rabbi's office passed out booklets during the war that among other things urged soldiers not to show mercy to the enemy. The army's chief rabbi, Brigadier General Avichai Ronsky, is from Itamar, a West Banks settlement with a history of right-wing activism. Former soldier Yehuda Shaul says the picture that emerges is of a chief military rabbi promoting the fight in Gaza as a holy war.


Human Rights Watch has also reported on Israeli atrocities, including Israel's use of white phosphorus weapons.

Of course, it's not easy to get the information, because Israel blocked access to Gaza by human rights investigators. Still, it is clear that, whatever official Israeli policy was, it was Israel's widespread practice to target and slaughter Gaza civilians.

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