Ripping the Lid Off From Inside the Can
Understandably, Israel and many of the nations which stand in solidarity with her, such as Canada, have rejected outright accusations of using tactics which violate the laws of war and the Geneva Conventions.
Most of the time Israel has found it easier, and surely more convenient, to claim that such charges are propaganda, even in the face of photographic evidence and multiple sources of testimony.
The UN has long recorded a pattern of Israeli Defence Forces targetting its facilities, as well as civillian facilities whose co-ordinates it sends to the IDF for specifically the opposite purpose. Accidents, the IDF says. Although it's an odd accident that hits the same small observation post multiple times while the UN observers inside are on the phone to the IDF commanders.
But now the reports are coming from a source too close to home to ignore: Israeli veterans.
From the BBC:
"A Palestinian neighbour is brought in," he says. "It was procedure. The soldier places his gun barrel on the civilian's shoulder."[. . .]
If true, that was a clear breach of the international laws of war - which say soldiers have a duty of care to non-combatants - and of Israeli law.
The common thread in the almost 30 testimonies collected by Breaking the Silence is that orders were given to prevent Israeli casualties, whatever the cost in Palestinian lives.The IDF says it's investigating the claims. I'd be surprised if they don't find anything. But I wouldn't be surprised if they don't find anything.
As previous posts about Israel have tended to attract the ire of some people, let me scotch the first arguments here and now: I believe that the state of Israel has a right to exist, and a right to defend itself. I understand that they're fighting a long and difficult war with an enemy who willingly targets civillians. But making the enemy's tactics your own isn't going to win you hearts and minds. There is a strong argument for trying to exemplify your own declared morality in wartime.
As well, the outright and vehment denials that we're used to seeing from Israel and her supporters do no-one any credit. We all know $#17 happens in wartime. But in the IDF it happens, so it seems, to an extent difficult to believe. It's time for an honest and open admission, and a transparent investigation. Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done.