550 IDF soldiers interrogated re possible war crimes in Gaza war

Huge kudos to Max Blumenthal, who found a report in yesterday’s Yediot stating that (in Max’s translation),

    More than 550 officers and men of IDF who participated in the “Cast Lead” operation have been interrogated by the investigative military police of the IDF in the last 18 months.

The Yediot report, by Yossi Yehoshua, notes,

    So far the interrogations gave rise to a considerable number of disciplinary – and legal – steps. The most serious one was taken last week when the Chief Military Prosecutor, Aloof Avihai Mandelblit, decided to charge a Giv’ati soldier for committing murder. On another occasion he decided to court-martial a Golani battalion commander for ignoring IDF instructions forbidding “use of neighbor” tactics.

As Max notes there: “’Use of neighbor’ tactic is the act where soldiers preparing to enter a suspected house force the neighbors to walk in front of them as a human shield.”
His laconic comment is, “Maybe Judge Goldstone wasn’t so crazy after all.” Indeed he wasn’t.
I guess my additional comment is that there does seem to be something of a battle going on for the “soul” of the IDF. An army that commits war crimes is not, in most circumstances, a disciplined fighting force. But today’s IDF has increasing numbers of military religio-nationalists rising up in its officer ranks (and in the IDF rabbinate), and many of those emerging leaders have racist, brutal views of any non-Jews. Thus we saw those outrageous hate-tracts that were distributed by some portions of the IDF rabbinate among soldiers during the assault of 2008-09… The military police (and thus, presumably, some portions of the general staff who support them) seem to have been rattled enough by the emergence of this openly racist religio-nationalism that they are trying to fight back and curb it? Maybe. Anyway, worth watching what’s going on there.

21 thoughts on “550 IDF soldiers interrogated re possible war crimes in Gaza war

  1. John RD Kidd

    The OBAMA administration has more important national issues to deal with than whether the fractious coalition in ISRAEL will survive,
    The President of the United States is, or should be, concerned first and foremost with the security and welfare of American citizens, and their jobs. The Obama administration has more important national issues to deal with than whether the fractious coalition in Israel will survive, or is about to deprive Israeli Palestinians of citizenship, or illegally annex East Jerusalem, or kill more passengers on aid ships on the high seas or massacre more civilians in Gaza after using them as human shields. These are all properly matters for the UN Security Council.
    The obvious example is the $3 billion annual aid present which should be scrapped and used for the benefit of American job-seekers. The second is the inordinate amount of time spent on Netanyahu and the extremist Likud party. There is no benefit whatsoever to the American tax payer in either of these expenditures. It is crystal clear that if this president, or any future president, fails to identify the primary priority of his government as being 300 million American citizens, then he should immediately resign or be voted out of office.

  2. Neil M

    Why are Israelis so obsessed with numbers?
    Who do they think they’re kidding?
    Claiming to have questioned 550 soldiers merely confirms that the Israelis are determined to waste time by looking in all the wrong place for answers. It is preposterous to imagine that ‘soldiers’ whose job is to follow the orders of their leaders can throw any light on whether or not war crimes were committed.
    It wouldn’t make a scrap of difference to the impending whitewash whether the Exoneration Committee ‘interrogated’ 55 or 5500 IOF ‘soldiers’. It would still be a transparent exercise in evasion and self justification.
    If they ‘interrogated’ 550 ‘soldiers’ it was merely to select the ones with the most Israel-friendly tales to tell.

  3. ali

    “and many of those emerging leaders have racist, brutal views of any non-Jews”.
    This statement in itself proves that Israel is an Apartheid state! and a core racist! what more we need a proof?

  4. David

    ali,
    The above statement “But today’s IDF has increasing numbers of military religio-nationalists rising up in its officer ranks (and in the IDF rabbinate), and many of those emerging leaders have racist, brutal views of any non-Jews.” was written by Helena. It represents her view.
    How does this constitute proof of anything?

  5. Eurosabra

    Also reinforcing the idea that force is a tool of statecraft, to be judged by the moral norms of modern states, explicitly situating the dispute as a political one to be resolved between modern polities, and thus refusing legitimacy to the concepts of Jihad and Milhemet Mitzvah and opposing theological interpretations of and motivations for the conflict. It is not a Jewish religio-nationalism which is opposed (for even a Jewish religious theocracy in the WB & G would have non-Jewish residents whose situation would be far better than or at least no worse than that of Jews in Islam, 630-1830) but rather a theological reading of Palestinians as Canaanites and Amalekites to be extirpated.

  6. bevin

    Religion is red herring here. Israel is a colony whose settlers have declared UDI; they have powerful supporters in the metropolis (just as Smith’s Rhodesia and South Africa did; just as the colons in Algeria did.)
    And that is very bad news for the empire whose world wide interests/ambitions are jeopardised by its self centred colonists, to whom, that ironist, history is paying out rope on request, certain that it will be used in self destruction.

  7. epppie

    Cast Lead was a ghastly warcrime from start to finish. But when in doubt, punish some ‘bad apples’.

  8. Eurosabra

    I acknowledge my honorable friend’s sudden promotion of me to the status of White Man and am busily looking for a European homeland of the Jews, but have only found the ash pits of Birkenau. Perhaps the State of Israel and its Jewish population may indeed be overwhelmed, but being overwhelmed by vicious enemies is a not uncommon Jewish fate and it would be hubris for my generation, following the Shoah, the Farhoud, and the Doctors’ Plot, to assume we will be exempt.

  9. Salah

    following the Shoah, the Farhoud, and the Doctors’ Plot, to assume we will be exempt.
    Farhoud?
    What know our yang Jews/Zionists about it?
    Or you just repeats lies over and over little zoniest?

  10. Eurosabra

    Salah,
    One Iraqi-born Israeli did vote in the post-2003 elections, via Jordan, and unsurprisingly he voted as far Left as possible. Only nostalgics like Sami Michael still represent the Iraqi Communist Party from Israel. So given that the consciousness of the remaining Iraqi-identified Jews is shaped largely by their received cultural memory of 1940-1 and 1950-5, and people like Sami Shalom Chetrit and Yehouda Shenhav are marginal, and Naim Giladi is forgotten, all the people you might want to lobby about their putative false consciousness of their own past…voted Kadima, Labor, Mafdal or Shas.

  11. Christiane

    Perhaps the State of Israel and its Jewish population may indeed be overwhelmed, but being overwhelmed by vicious enemies is a not uncommon Jewish fate and it would be hubris for my generation, following the Shoah, the Farhoud, and the Doctors’ Plot, to assume we will be exempt
    The Israelians and the Jewish diaspora should stop this constant use of the shoah to justify anything bad they are doing to the Palestinians. It is shameless to use the sufferings of their ancestors to obliterate what they are doing now. The fact that European Jews were massacrated by the Nazi in Europe doesn’t give the Israelians the right to expell the Palestinians from their land, neither to commmit the kind of slow ethnic cleansing we are seeing now in Gaza.
    At long, being so gruesome with the Palestinians is alterting the world opinion and the Israelians are few and few loosing the capital of sympathy and the compassionnate and guilty feelings they were enjoying, especially in Europe. May be that they begin to realize it and that the last inquiry of the IDF is a try to regain some of it.

  12. David

    It is not just the “fact that European Jews were massacrated by the Nazi” that the Jews returned to their homeland. It was for the two thousand years of statelessness and the at least one thousand year history of massacres. It is because when a French Jew was accused of spying for Germany the crowd didn’t shout “kill the German”, they shouted “kill the Jew”.
    It’s convenient to start history with WWII but not true.

  13. Eurosabra

    Recognition of past history as a possibility of one’s future is not an excuse, and, functionally, I don’t think Israel has ever successfully used the Shoah as an excuse, that is, it was never accepted as an explanation for Israeli behavior by someone either within or without Israel who could stop that behavior who then chose not to stop it as a result of the excuse. When it was used as an excuse, Beirut 1982, the Americans explicitly rejected the Arafat =Hitler analogy, and insisted on the Tunis evacuation. Eichmann’s capture was justified by the Holocaust, but that is not an excuse or use of it as an excuse. Only Portugal allowed shipment of weapons to Israel in the 1973 war, and it is my belief that oppression of European Jews (as in DP camps 1945-48 and the British internee camps) will follow any new war to prevent “Zionist manpower” from “reaching the front.” Europe is already doing its best to erase Israel.
    I take it you are French. Rue Copernic pretty much says it all. If you are Jewish, leave while you still can.

  14. Michael W.

    Some here question why the commission is questioning soldiers and officers involved instead of investigating the orders of the high ranking officials in the military and the ruling coalition at the time.
    I think the best way to respond to this is to highlight the fact that the “neighbor tactic” has been outlawed by the Israeli Supreme Court so any officer or soldier that uses it is breaking the laws of Israel.

  15. Salah

    It was for the two thousand years of statelessness and the at least one thousand year history of massacres.
    Accordingly then the Indigenous Indians in North America or Aborigines in Australia have the rights and most of you should support them to get their state and land from whites for same reasons. Isn’t?

  16. Salah

    people like Sami Shalom
    Eurosabra,
    There are also people like your friend Sami Shalom who are saying or doing different what your friend did.
    Eurosabra, my father most of his friend in Keffil were Iraqi “Jews” he keep remembered their lovely time were they lived and many stories they share between their family and our family but when time came to move their eyes full of drops leaving their land their people and their loving friends and brothers, that was the relations between Iraqi despite Jews or not, this my father tells this is my family stories not a” friend living somewhere and telling me.

  17. Eurosabra

    Since this thread is still active, I might as well point out (my previous comment on this did not make it through, for whatever reason) that this is (in terms of institutional memory of the IDF) a reaction to the 1956 massacres the IDF committed with impunity in Rafah and Khan Yunis. Some non-uniformed resisters and some members of the Palestinian Liberation Army units of Egypt were among the victims, I believe the majority (of 200-odd) were civilians. Israelis had not yet had the Kfar Kassem trial setting the “Black flag of illegality” standard in refusing an illegal order, and 1956 was seen as 1948 redux. Efficient enforcement of civilian protection by law is now seen as an interest of the state. I am actually familiar with the Israeli military interventions that did not harm civilians, and the calculus was that one could destroy unoccupied military and other properties of a state hosting resistance organizations as deterrent in retaliation for the taking of Israeli lives. (As in the Beirut airport raid of 1969).

  18. Eurosabra

    Interesting that Iraqi Shia Communist activists were also threatened with statelessness, even under the British, and that the red/black dichotomy resurfaces there as it does in Israel.
    In his poem “I am an Arab Refugee” Sami Shalom Chetrit is perfectly sincere about being primarily a Palestinian-born Jewish Arab (since this is still a viable identity). Link
    http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/php/art.php?aid=63313

  19. David

    super390,
    Sorry I didn’t see your comments before today. I was on a much needed, well deserved vacation.
    Let’s just take your last paragraph for comment: “And why did “Clean Break” call for the perpetual degradation of Arab society? Because if they are seen as subhuman, a view far more prevalent in the US now than before the Israeli lobby went to work, then the theft of the rest of the West Bank would not be a matter of human rights in our eyes. And in fact Israel has already won that battle, hasn’t it?”
    No one needs the Project for a New American Century” to view with revulsion Arab society. Sorry, but the mainstream news does that just fine. When we read about two 13 year old girls forced into marriage, escape and are then returned to their “husbands” and are publicly whipped, most American view that society with revulsion. On my vacation I only saw a headline about a woman who was going to be stoned, I believe it was Iran. The facts of the society make for that degradation and revulsion. Americans don’t need additional propaganda.
    Yes, in Israel an Arab gets 6 months in jail for lying about being Jewish so he can have sex. While this bothers me, I expect he will get out of jail by a higher court, who will have harsh words of condemation for the lower courts. And this will be a source of pride, not revulsion.
    On your last point “Israel has already won that battle, hasn’t it?” No, Israel has lost that battle. The West Bank will be a Palestinian state at some point in the future. Most everyone knows this, just like we knew invading Iraq wasn’t going to remake the middle east into democratic countries and Vietnam was lost before the first US soldier landed there.

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