In a report on yesterday’s “Morning Edition” on NPR, Israeli soldiers recounted actions in the recent Gaza offensive.
Yehuda Shaul, an Israeli army veteran, who has interviewed more than 20 soldiers who fought in the conflict:
Some soldiers from some units who led this operation in the front, basically when they received the briefing, it was – guys, we’re entering in, everything that moves, everything that is a threat, everything you are afraid of, you shoot.
NPR reporter Eric Westervelt continues:
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.
It’s more than a holy war. You know, there was testimony of one of the guys who came to us – he’s a religious reservist who, you know, there’s a rabbi who approached him; he spoke in the terms of the forces of light against the forces of darkness, a very religious and messianic language, you know. Of course it’s disturbing.
Yesterday, The Washington Post reported on charges that the Israeli army illegally used white phosphorus.
Chemical weapons to kill civilians. War tactics with “little or no purpose” that were “gratuitous.” “[A]sacred fight to expel non-Jews from Jewish land.”
You have to wonder if the Israeli army has embarked on a Jewish jihad or the second Holocaust.