Plea bargain gives IDF soldier 45 days in jail for Gaza war shooting deaths of two women waving white flags [in January 2009]

In what has been described as the case with the most serious charges to arise out of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead three-week war [from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009] on Hamas in Gaza — a case of shooting and killing two adult women, mother and daughter, who were waving white flags who were trying to move out of a building at the start of the ground phase in the IDF’s military onslaught — an IDF soldier in the Givati Brigade has been sentenced to a plea-bargain punishment of 45 days in jail.

The shootings took place on 4 January 2009 – the first full day of the ground operation phase during the Israeli war in Gaza.

The charges against the soldier in the deaths of the two women [identified as a grandmother and her adult daughter, Raya and Majda Abu Hajaj] were reduced from unlawful killing and manslaughter to the more minor charge “unlawful use of a firearm”.

The Jerusalem Post is reporting here that “Evidence produced during the trial indicated that S. [the IDF soldier] ignored orders and fired on the group“.

The defense arguments included: 1.) a security warning was allegedly given saying that Hamas/”terrorists” would try to mount an attack while hiding among a group of Palestinian women, or, as the JPost reported, “The Givati soldiers stationed nearby received a warning that terrorists may attempt to blend in to groups of fleeing civilians and launch attacks”.

Other defense arguments were that 2.) the Israel investigators maintain that there is a suspicion there was a discrepancy between the reported time of shooting and the reported time of deaths of the two women — although, as the JPost also reported, “the prosecution said no bodies had been presented to the court to determine the women’s cause of death, and said that there many soldiers shooting in the area at the time”.

B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization, is reportedly calling for a reopening of the investigation, according to the JPost.

Haaretz reported here on Sunday that “The agreement will be submitted today to the Jaffa military court, after negotiations between MAG and the soldier’s attorneys. The soldier, Staff Sgt. S’, from Givati Brigade will be convicted of a relatively light offense – illegal use of weapons”.

Continue reading “Plea bargain gives IDF soldier 45 days in jail for Gaza war shooting deaths of two women waving white flags [in January 2009]”

Meager results from Israeli military investigations of its own conduct in Gaza 3 years ago

The Israeli human rights information organization B’Tselem has reported that it received an update from the Israeli Military’s Attorney-General on the status of complaints [including some from B’Tselem] made into specific aspects of the Israeli military conduct of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza — 3 years ago [27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009].

But, B’Tselem noted, the results of the Israeli military’s investigations into its own actions in that unprecedented operation in Gaza were “meager”.

Continue reading “Meager results from Israeli military investigations of its own conduct in Gaza 3 years ago”

Will sirens sound today at 11:30 am?

Today is the third Anniversary of the launch of the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

The 22-day operation was launched at 11:30 am or so, on 27 December 2008. In the first strikes, some 250 Hamas police were mowed down at their police academy graduation ceremony in Gaza City. The debate continues over whether they were legitimate military targets, or not [many international lawyers say no].

Will sirens sound today in the streets of the West Bank, or even of Gaza? Will people stop and get out of their cars, to stand in memory of the lives lost?

And, how will the day be marked in Israel?

Israeli military spokespersons and government officials said that the target of this massive and unprecedented military operation was Hamas.

They say that Hamas was the “address” in the Gaza Strip, the political movement that could be held responsible [following its rout of Fatah/Palestinian Authority Preventive Security Forces in mid-June 2007] for any and all rocket, mortar and missile attacks.

Hamas, it was argued, was in charge of a physical space whose status has been defined [in the wake of Israel’s unilateral “disengagement” in September 2005 of some 8,000 settlers and the troops protecting] by leading Israeli experts on international law as a sui generis [of itself / unique to itself] entity — and whose population 0f some 1.5 million people is almost exclusively Palestinian.

More than half of the population of Gaza are children. Some 2/3 to 3/4 of the population are refugees who fled or who were expelled during the fighting that surrounded the creation of the state of Israel in 1948

Operation Cast Lead was carried out on a trapped population with nowhere to flee — all borders were closed.

The dropping of leaflets by Israeli airplanes warning of some of the upcoming strikes did not offer any information about where to seek refuge — they did not even say exactly which areas were about to be attacked. They simply added to the confusion and terror.

In the annals of warfare, the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead was not a war. It was a military operation, with vague aims that were, in the end, not achieved.

In grief and despair at the time, I wrote that it was like shooting fish in a barrel.

Gilad Shalit was not released until negotiations with Hamas– which had started well before Operation Cast Lead — were concluded this year.

The firing of rocket, mortar and missile firing from Gaza on surrounding areas of Israeli population and territory continues until this day, though sporadically and diminished — despite the agreement even at a recent Fatah-Hamas reconciliation summit in Cairo in November, in which Hamas signed on to join the popular non-violent resistance being backed by Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank [though Abbas did not launch the current non-violent strategy.

The IDF’s Operation Cast Lead was ordered by Israel’s “political echelon”, by popular demand, aided and abetted by the Israeli media.

Operation Cast Lead ended with two parallel cease-fires — one declared by Israel at the request of Barack Obama who was sworn into office just hours after it went into effect at 2am local time on 18 January 2009, the other one declared by Hamas to allow the Israeli ground troops to withdraw.

Maybe it can be said that one lasting “achievement” of Operation Cast Lead was the recognition of the need to turn to human rights instruments and norms to institute a “real” announced and declared naval blockade of the Gaza Strip on the night of 3-4 January 2009, as the ground phase of Operation Cast Lead got underway.

Another achievement, the growing [though not yet universal] recognition that this kind of massive use of force, against an essentially defenseless population, no matter how deep the enmity, should never be authorized again.

Quote of the Day – 11th in our series

81 percent of the ammunition used in the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead attack on Gaza was precision-guided, we now learn.

IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi said yesterday at something called the “International Artillery Conference” in Zichron Ya’akov, Israel, that “When fighting in densely populated areas, our major challenge is distinguishing innocent civilians from the enemy. When such a differentiation is impossible, we are required to adjust our ammunition to the changing battlefield and build a clear fire-operating policy. The IDF’s current operating methods rely on substantial usage of precision-guided ammunition, such as the ammunition used in operation Cast Lead. Such technologies allow us to minimize the unwanted damage caused to the civilian population (81% of the ammunition used in during operation Cast Lead was precision-guided). One of the challenges we will face in our future will be the development of a small, precise yet deadly war head, able to directly hit the target, while minimizing collateral damage”. This is posted on the IDF Spokesperson’s website, here.

What could a “small, precise yet deadly war head, able to directly hit the target” be?

Two IDF soldiers convicted for "inappropriate behavior" in Gaza war

According to the Jerusalem Post, “Two Givati Brigade infantrymen on Sunday were convicted of overstepping authority to the point of endangering human life and inappropriate behavior during Operation Cast Lead in 2009 … The conviction is the first of its kind for what is termed in the IDF ‘neighbor procedure’ which deals with the use of human shields during searches and pursuits, which has been outlawed”. This report is posted here.

YNet reported that the military court “found that the two Givati soldiers on trial had ordered the boy to open a few bags, thought to contain explosives. The boy opened a number of bags and spread out their contents, and when he feared opening the last one they removed him from the vicinity and fired at it. He was then returned to his mother. Afaf [Rabah, mother of Majd, who was 11 years old during Operation Cast Lead in early ] added that she and her neighbors had been in the building’s bomb shelter when an IDF force raided it. ‘Majd was standing next to me and they pointed in our direction. I was sure they wanted to talk to me. I asked him, “What do you want?” but then he pointed at the boy again’, she recounted. ‘I was afraid, and then the soldiers pulled him away and took him out of the room we were in. Then I didn’t see him until after the shot was fired. That was a horrifying moment. There are no words to express what I felt’, she said …

Continue reading “Two IDF soldiers convicted for "inappropriate behavior" in Gaza war”

Quote of the day – (8th in our series)

Today’s quote of the day is from the Jerusalem Post interview with the Israeli military’s Coordinator of [Israeli] Government Activities in the [Palestinian] territories (COGAT), Major-General Eitan Dangot, who decides on a daily basis exactly what can get into or out of the Gaza Strip, or not: “The Palestinians in Gaza have for years been receiving the same amount of food which is sent in according to the amount they request,” he says. “Even now, with our more liberal policy, they are still asking for the same amount, which means they were never really lacking”… This JPost interview is posted here.

This JPost story reports that “As evidence, Dangot pulls out a chart showing the number of trucks carrying food that have been allowed into Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing from as far back as 2006. Then, Israel was allowing in an average of 63 trucks a day of food. In 2007, the number was 67; in 2008, 71; and until June the average remained the same”.

Dangot tells the JPost that “Ensuring the balance is difficult,” Dangot admits. “Our job though is to help the regular civilian population and what we do is ultimately for the simple Palestinian on the street, not for Hamas … I saw that there was an opportunity to expand our policies while at the same ensuring that Hamas is isolated and not allowed to develop an economy,” he says.

Continue reading “Quote of the day – (8th in our series)”

IDF announces disciplinary action + one indictment for Operation Cast Lead

The IDF announced that its Military Advocate General, Maj.-Gen. Avichai Mendelblit, has made decisions on four separate cases concerning Operation Cast Lead, about which complaints were filed, after he examined findings from investigations carried out through a number of different channels. In one of the cases Mendelblit decided to take no legal measures, despite an earlier decision in that case by the IDF Chief of Staff Gaby Ashkenazi to take disciplinary action.

The IDF reported that the Military Advocate General [MAG] decided the following:

(1.) On 4 or 5 January 2009, in the Juhar al-Dik neighborhood, two women in a group carrying white flags were shot and killed [by “IDF soldiers” on 4 January, as the Palestinians said, or by “a man” on 5 January, as the soldiers testified]:
The Military Advocate General [MAG] ordered that an IDF Staff Sergeant be indicted with charges of manslaughter [and not on lesser charges of manslaughter] by a military court in the case of a complaint made by the Hajjaj Family, that two women [64-year-old Raya Salma Abu Hajjaj and her 37-year-old daughter Majda Abu Hajjaj] were shot on January 4th, 2009, in the neighborhood of Juhar Al-Dik. It was claimed that the women were part of a group of civilians, some of whom were carrying white flags … This MAG decision is based on evidence that the soldier, who was serving as a designated marksman, deliberately targeted an individual walking with a group of people waving a white flag without being ordered or authorized to do so … the comprehensive investigation which found gaps between the testimonies given by the soldiers and those given by Palestinians. This fact made it impossible to make a criminal connection between the described incident according to Palestinian testimonies and to that described by the soldiers. The soldiers testified that on January 5th, 2009 it was a man that was shot and killed in the same location described by Palestinian witnesses … Despite the fact that the two events are apparently one and the same, from a judicial point of view, sufficient connections could not be made between the evidence gathered in the case of the indicted soldier and the event described by Palestinian testimonies. Haaretz reported that “The soldier, identified only as First Sergeant S., said during an army investigation that he had fired at the women’s legs only when he believed troops’ lives to be at risk and had not intended to kill them … The indictment against the soldier, a member of the Givati brigade, was filed on Tuesday following a military hearing”. BTselem noted that “The two women were carrying white flags at the time they were killed”, and wondered if any of the commanders would be charged, but still reportedly said that this indictment was “important”. A BTselem summary of its investigation can be found here.

(2.) On 5 January 2009 – Zeitoun neigh,borhood, a residence sheltering about 100 members of the Al-Samouni family “was struck from the air”: the MAG has ordered a Military Police criminal police investigation to “clarify the circumstances” in which 29 members of this family were killed. .

(3.) No date or precise given in IDF statement, but this was probably in Rafah – concerning the Ibrahim Al-Makadma mosque – “disciplinary action was taken against an IDF Captain for his failed professional judgment in authorizing an attack against a terror operative”: a first IDF report that there had been no hit on the mosque was revised upon further examination ordered by the IDF chief of staff, and it found that “there was in fact an aerial strike in close proximity of the mosque, and this was communicated in an earlier report by the State of Israel to the UN. The aerial strike targeted a terror operative involved in the launching of rockets toward Israel who was standing outside of the mosque. Injuries caused to civilians inside were unintentional and caused by shrapnel that penetrated the mosque. The investigation also showed that the officer who ordered the attack had failed to exercise appropriate judgment. Therefore, the Chief of the General Staff ordered that disciplinary actions be taken against the officer, and that he would not serve in similar positions of command in the future. The officer also stood trial for negligence before the Commander of the Ground Forces Training Center, Brig.-Gen. Avi Ashkenazi, who rebuked him for his actions“. BUT, when the findings of this investigation were handed over to the MAG, he “decided that the attack did not violate international laws of warfare because the attack did not target the mosque, rather it targeted a terror operative, and when the attack was authorized, no possibility of harming civilians was identified. According to this assessment, the Military Advocate General decided that legal measures were not necessary“.

(4.) “An IDF officer at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel was summoned to a disciplinary hearing for having deviated from military directives pertaining to the prohibition on the use of civilians for operational activity” [no further details were given — it looks like a human shield case]. The Jerusalem Post noted that “a battalion commander with the rank of lieutenant colonel … allegedly permitted troops to send a Palestinian into a home where terrorists were located. This was done in an effort to convince the terrorists to leave the home. The battalion commander, who was not present during the incident, gave his approval based on reports that he received from his soldiers that the Palestinian had asked the soldiers to allow him to enter the home in an effort to prevent the demolition of his home which was next door. The MAG decided to press disciplinary and not criminal charges against the officer after reviewing the material collected during the investigation and due to the fact that the Palestinian had requested to enter the home to talk to the terrorists. On the other hand, Mandelblit till decided to hold a hearing for the commander since the use of human shields is a violation of IDF orders and a ruling of the High Court of Justice. This is published here.

(5.) And in additional unspecified cases: it was decided that legal measures would not be taken “because according to the rules of warfare, no faults were found in the forces’ actions“.

(6.) “In yet other cases, there was not enough evidence proving that legal measures needed to be taken”.

The Haaretz report concluded that “The Advocate General also decided to close the proceedings on all the other incidents that were mentioned in the Goldstone Report … The report mentioned 23 incidents of alleged war crimes perpetrated by Israeli soldiers. Mandelblit arrived at these decisions in light of the findings of the military probe in which more than 400 officers and fighters were questioned over the last 18 months”. This report is posted here.

The Jerusalem Post reported that “In two weeks, the IDF and the foreign ministry will present a revised and updated version of its reports on Operation Cast Lead to the United Nations, which will include all findings from these investigations”. This report can be read in full here.

Is Hamas accusing British journalist detained in Gaza of looking for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit?

Freelance British Journalist Paul Martin — apparently a documentary filmmaker — was detained yesterday at a courthouse in Gaza City by Hamas authorities on “suspicion of breaking local/’Palestinian’ laws”, and Gaza’s Attorney General has now ordered him held for 15 days.  Martin is reportedly now in Gaza City’s central prison.  As the AP reports, this is “an unprecedented step against a foreign reporter since the Islamic militants seized control of Gaza in 2007”.

The AP report noted that “Hamas has prided itself in ending the lawlessness of vigilante gunmen, and has largely stayed clear of foreign journalists since seizing the territory in 2007. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Mr. Martin’s arrest signaled a change in policy. The Interior Ministry statement said foreigners are welcome in Gaza, but that ‘anyone who tries to violate the security of Gaza will be held accountable’.”

Ma’an News Agency reported this morning that the spokesman of what they editorially refer to as the “de facto Ministry of Interior” in Gaza, Ihab Al-Ghussein, “told Ma’an that an arrest warrant for Martin was issued following the confession of a defendant charged with collaborating with Israel. The defendant ‘has confessed against the British journalist and said he [Martin] violated Palestinian law and the security in Gaza’, Al-Ghussein said”.

However, as Ma’an noted, Martin was detained as he arrived to testify at the trial of the man whose accusations were then used as the basis for Martin’s arrest. Ma’an described the man as “a Palestinian fighter accused of collaborating with Israel, a journalist present at the courthouse in Gaza City told Ma’an”.

Ma’an reported that ” ‘This person [the Palestinian] was accused by the government of being a collaborator with the Israeli side. Our colleague [Martin] came as a witness to testify in favor of this guy’, the journalist said. Martin arrived in Gaza with evidence proving the accused man had fought against the Israeli military, the journalist added. ‘Suddenly, the court announced that the reporter said something that is against the law, and it jailed him for 15 days for investigation’, according to the journalist, who said Martin had interviewed the accused man during Israel’s assault on Gaza [n.b. – the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead], which began in late December 2008″.

Ma’an reported additionally that “Palestinian security sources told the German news agency DPA that Martin was accused of giving information to ‘hostile parties’. The British national was being held in Gaza’s central prison, although it was not clear if he had yet been charged with any crime, DPA reported”. This Ma’an report can be read in full here.

Then, there was a brief report from a Palestinian media source this morning saying that Martin has been accused of trying to locate IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit who has been held somewhere in Gaza since his capture in a cross-border raid in late June 2006, for which Israel has made numerous retailatory attacks, including destruction of the Gaza Power Plant a few days after Shalit’s capture. After Israel’s unprecedented three-week military operation against Gaza from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009, which was ended by two unilateral cease-fires (Israel’s and Hamas’), the Israeli Government has declared on several occasions that it will not lift the controlled closure of all border crossings into the Gaza Strip until Shalit is safely returned home.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has not been allowed to visit Shalit during his almost four-year captivity so far, but there were a one or two letters transferred in recent years between Shalit and his parents, and a more recent videotape showing Shalit alive and relatively at ease with his captors, exchanged through intermediaries who include former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

It was noted in a comment on Facebook last night that Martin has, in the past, reported for the BBC and for The Times of London [see these two reports dated November 2007 here and here].  The BBC has just reported that Martin has written for the two British news organizations.  Additional news reports indicate that Martin also contributed to the Daily Mail.

A representative of the British Consulate has visited Martin in jail, and the British Consulate in Jerusalem has expressed concern about the situation.

The Foreign Press Association in Israel has just released a statement calling for Martin’s release: “The Foreign Press Association is deeply concerned with the arrest of British filmmaker and journalist Paul Martin, in Gaza by Hamas authorities. We expect the Hamas as we do all parties, to respect the rights of every journalist on assignment to work without fear of being arrested. The Foreign Press Association hereby requests the Palestinian Authorities in Gaza to immediately release Paul Martin”.

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[An illustrative story: when I arrived in Gaza in mid-June 2007, as soon as the Israeli military authorities re-opened the Erez terminal used for human crossing in and out of Gaza, just after the Hamas rout of Fatah/Palestinian Authority Preventive Security forces in the Gaza Strip, I walked with my colleagues through the battered concrete corridors in the no-man’s land between Erez and the point where Israelis allow Gazans to approach Erez, which were still filled with miserable Palestinians desperate to get out, together with those who had just missed appointments for vital cancer treatment in Israeli medical institutions.  There was a stench of urine, people appeared desperate, and some more energetic and enterprising young men were tearing apart the physical infrastructure of the canopy and the adjacent toilets and other rooms, piece by piece and pipe by pipe.  When we finally got through that area of hell-on-earth, we arrived at an area where a few Gazan taxis were waiting.  The parking area was more empty than normal.  Suddenly, a white vehicle bristling with young men carreened into the parking area and approached us.  Some of the men in the car were wearing all-black chinos.  Others looked like Afghans or Pakistanis, with multiple layers of vests over long shirts over robes.  The driver, all in crisp black, recognized us as journalists and offered to show us fighters shooting off a rocket or two.  We politely declined.  Then the driver asked if we wanted to speak to Alan Johnston, the BBC correspondent who was by that time already in captivity by some groups not entirely controlled by Hamas.  The driver took out his mobile phone and thrust it in our direction:  “I just spoke to him half an hour ago”, he said.  We thanked him, but declined again.  There was a moment of tension.  Then, I asked where they got the nice white vehicle.  The driver and some of the passengers laughed.  “From Abu Mazen!” (Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the driver shouted in glee.  Then they all drove off and left us safely alone to proceed with our Palestinian “fixers”, who had arrived by that time, to take us into downtown Gaza City…]

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The Israel Project, an organization based in Washington and Jerusalem which works to influence media coverage of this region, has helpfully put together a little press release of journalists kidnapped in the Gaza Strip.  Paul Martin, of course, has not been kidnapped, but rather arrested — and by Hamas.  The list compiled by The Israeli Project all dates from the period before Hamas was in charge in the Gaza Strip.  Still, it’s interesting, and here it is:

Journalists Kidnapped by Palestinian Militants in Gaza since Sept. 2004:

* March 12, 2007 – BBC correspondent Alan Johnston is kidnapped by a Gaza-based clan calling itself the Army of Islam. This group is thought to have ties to al-Qaeda. Johnston’s captors released a video on the Internet demanding that Britain release several Muslim prisoners including Islamist al-Qaeda cleric Abu Qatada.

* Jan. 7, 2007 – Jaime Razuri from Agence France-Presse is kidnapped and released almost a week later. The kidnappers were not identified.

* Oct. 23, 2006 – Emilio Morenatti, an Associated Press photographer, is kidnapped by unidentified Palestinian gunmen and released on the same day.

* Aug. 27, 2006 – Fox News correspondent Steve Centanni and New Zealand-born cameraman Olaf Wiig are held for two weeks by a previously unknown group identified as the Holy Jihad Brigades. They were released unharmed after being forced to convert to Islam.

* March 15, 2006 – Caroline Laurent, reporter for the French-language weekly ELLE; Alfred Yaghobzadeh, photographer for France’s Sipa Press; and Yong Tae-Young, a correspondent for South Korea’s KBS are kidnapped from the Al-Dira Hotel in Gaza. Palestinian Security Services claim the kidnappers are members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The journalists were released within 22 hours.

* Oct. 12, 2005 – Dion Nissenbaum and Adam Pletts of Knight Ridder News Service (now McClatchy Newspapers) are abducted by renegade members of the Fatah party. The journalists were freed later that day.

* Sept. 10, 2005 – Journalist Lorenzo Cremonesi of Corriere della Serra ( Italy ) is abducted in the town of Deir el-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. He was released the same day.

* Aug.15, 2005 – Journalist Mohammad Ouathi, a French citizen of Algerian origin is kidnapped and released a week later. No group claimed responsibility.

* Jan. 8, 2005 – Ramon Lobo and Carmen Secanella, reporters for Spain’s El Pais, are kidnapped briefly by Palestinian militants in Gaza’s Khan Younes refugee camp.

* Sept. 27, 2004 – Riad Ali, producer for CNN is abducted at gunpoint and released the following day. Ali claims that the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades was behind his kidnapping but the militia has denied the allegations.

The above list, of journalists kidnapped in Gaza from September 2004 until March 2007, was prepared by The Israel Project.

UNSG BAN Ki Moon – "deadpan" + "procedural" – puts Goldstone report back in UN General Assembly's court

UNSG BAN Ki-Moon transmitted the information he has received in the past week or so from (1) Israel, (2) the Palestinian Authority, and (3) Hamas, in response to a UN General Assembly resolution adopted last November calling on the three parties to establish credible independent and impartial investigations into the last winter’s Gaza war.

The UNSG said, however, in a short cover note, that “no determination can be made on the implementation of the resolution by the parties concerned”, although he expressed the hope that the General Assembly’s resolution will, in fact, result in probes “that are independent, credible and in conformity with international standards”.

What does that mean?

Well, the ball is back in the UN General Assembly’s court.

Continue reading “UNSG BAN Ki Moon – "deadpan" + "procedural" – puts Goldstone report back in UN General Assembly's court”

Army Doctor who headed Israeli Field Hospital (in Haiti) also took part in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza

On Sunday (January 31) at the high-powered 10th annual Herzliya Conference in Israel, the IDF Deputy Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz recently denounced the Goldstone report on last winter’s war in Gaza by saying that “The Goldstone report is a Trojan horse; it gives terrorist organizations legitimacy to fight us from urban populations … [By contrast] Our moral soundness is clear after dozens of investigations and interrogations. The famous army doctor who was head of the Israeli field hospital [in Haiti, presumably] also took part in Operation Cast Lead.”

The Israeli IDF delegation sent to help in Haiti’s post-earthquake emergency was headed by OC Home Front Command, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan.  Surgeon General, Brig. Gen. Dr. Nachman Ash was a member of the delegation, as was Lt. Col. Dr. Benjamin Sender,  Chief Medical Officer for the Israeli Military, and Col. Dr. Yitzhak Kreiss (Itzik Kryce), who served as the administrator of the Israeli field hospital in Haiti.

Gantz also said in his address to the Herzliya Conference that “Israel must make it clear that while we share a number of values with the West, there is a basic difference. We live with our values in a war zone. This fusillade does not allow us to respond any other way. We must remove this threat. We cannot remain victims”. Maj. Gen. Gantz also said that during Operation Cast Lead, his mother, who passed way five months ago, told him: “Don’t stop sending food to Gaza, but don’t stop fighting either.”

This was reported by the IDF press unit here.