No Israeli Misconduct in Gaza

22 04 2009

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Reuters reported today that the internal investigations by Israel’s armed forces concluded that the IDF has committed no misconduct in its recent war on Gaza.

“The IDF operated under the international law and according to a very high standard of professionalism and moral standards,” Major-General Dan Harel, deputy chief of staff, told a news conference called to deliver results of a probe into five sets of war crimes allegations.

This should not come as a surprise. Please don’t be surprised. You are naïve if you’ve expected another conclusion.

Not to bust Israel’s chops here, but how is it that a state in a constant, 60-year-old war does not commit war crimes whatsoever? How is it, and excuse my ignorance, that 1,500 people die in three weeks and 5,000 more get injured, with hundreds of children and women make no misconduct whatsoever? None! Zip! Nada!

Did people not read, watch and hear all the separate reports from people on the ground, from reporters, witnesses, victims about what really happened? Do we not remember the UN schools that got hit, some of which required the personal apology of Defense Minister Barak? Do we not even care about those brave Israeli soldiers who came out and said that they did things they shouldn’t have done?

I bring your attention to this paragraph from the same article:

Military investigators uncovered several “operational and intelligence mistakes” by Israeli forces, Harel said. In one case, a bomb that was meant for a militant’s house was misdirected to a neighboring building, killing 21 civilians.

Please notice that this is a “mistake,” never a war crime. Please also notice Reuters’ word choice “misdirected.” And please, please, notice that it’s 21 civilians.

Human rights groups have called for a separate independent investigation. Israel, of course, has refused the UN proposal to inspect both IDF and Hamas’s actions. Tell me: if you’ve got nothing to hide, then why hide?

I rarely agree with Hamas and their ideology and vision (if they really have one, that is), but for this time, I will post a comment and agree with it.

“[Israel] cannot be both criminal and judge at the same time,” said a spokesman for Hamas.

From a legal point of view, this is absolutely right. Can’t play defendant and judge in the same court.

It is ludicrous to think that a conflict with so much hatred on both sides will have no war crimes whatsoever. Absolutely ridiculous. 

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Fashion of the year: T-shirts, IDF-style

22 03 2009

 

Photo credit: Haaretz newspaper

Photo credit: Haaretz newspaper

A feature story appeared on the Israeli newspaper, the Haaretz, on March 20th by reporter Uri Blau, about a new trend among Israeli soldiers.

From a shop in south Tel Aviv, t-shirts are customized and made for buyers with imprints and taglines of their choice. Some IDF soldiers are now choosing images of dead women and babies (among others) with taglines like “1 shot, 2 kills,” or “Bet you got raped!”

These t-shirts are a sort of graduation gift for soldiers who have completed their service, particularly those from the sniper courses. A higher-ranked IDF officer, or sometimes the platoon’s sergeant, is supposed to approve them. The IDF’s Spokesman’s Office said that the army has no authority over civilian clothing, however.

Soldiers have not worn these t-shirts in public yet, only in “an army context.” One soldier interviewed said that they’re supposed to be an “inside joke.”

The IDF emphasizes that the images and lines are not representative of IDF practices. But I ask: what exactly are they a representation of, then? The Adiv printing shop said that the first order was placed in July 2007 and the trend has picked up from then.

Here is why this is not just about silly t-shirts:

“Could the printing of clothing be viewed also as a means of venting aggression?

[Sociologist Dr. Orna Sasson-Levy, of Bar-Ilan University]: “No. I think it strengthens and stimulates aggression and legitimizes it. What disturbs me is that a shirt is something that has permanence. The soldiers later wear it in civilian life; their girlfriends wear it afterward. It is not a statement, but rather something physical that remains, that is out there in the world. Beyond that, I think the link made between sexist views and nationalist views, as in the ‘Screw Haniyeh’ shirt, is interesting. National chauvinism and gender chauvinism combine and strengthen one another. It establishes a masculinity shaped by violent aggression toward women and Arabs; a masculinity that considers it legitimate to speak in a crude and violent manner toward women and Arabs.””

It is a BIG problem if you think of dead women and children, wherever they’re from, as a laughing matter.  A BIG PROBLEM. Combine this article with recent Israeli soldiers’ testimonies about abuse during Operation Cast Lead and you’ll have some very juicy food for thought.