I’ve kept this link open so I wouldn’t forget to write about it: Johann Hari’s profile in The Independent of Israeli journalist for Haaretz Gideon Levy. The title, catchy: “Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?”
Levy was interviewed in Scotland as he was visiting to promote his new book, The Punishment of Gaza.
Here are some excerpts of what he told Hari: “ ‘My biggest struggle’, he says, ‘is to rehumanize the Palestinians. There’s a whole machinery of brainwashing in Israel which really accompanies each of us from early childhood, and I’m a product of this machinery as much as anyone else. [We are taught] a few narratives that it’s very hard to break. That we Israelis are the ultimate and only victims. That the Palestinians are born to kill, and their hatred is irrational. That the Palestinians are not human beings like us, So you get a society without any moral doubts, without any questions marks, with hardly public debate. To raise your voice against all this is very hard’.”
Continue reading Great article, great man
Somehow, the Jerusalem correspondent of the British newspaperThe Independent, Donald Macintyre, got ahold of an unpublished article written after what was clearly very extensive work by an Israeli journalist for Israel’s largest-circulation Hebrew-language newspaper (Yediot Ahronot).
Somehow — despite the immense pressure being exerted on Israeli soldiers not to talk about their experiences in Gaza a year ago — the (unnamed) Israeli journalist who wrote the article got access to — and gained the confidence of — some Israeli military officers who served in key positions during the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009.
These sources have given some sensational testimony — still unpublished in the Israeli newspaper, but revealed publicly for the first time today in The Independent.
One of the soldiers is reported to have said that ” ‘any movement must entail gunfire. No one’s supposed to be there’. He added that at a meeting with his brigade commander and others it was made clear that ‘if you see any signs of movement at all you shoot. This is essentially the rules of engagement’.” Another soldier in the war-room reportedly explained that: “This doesn’t mean that you need to disrespect the lives of Palestinians but our first priority is the lives of our soldiers. That’s not something you’re going to compromise on. In all my years in the military, I never heard that”. According to The Independent, this same soldier “added that the majority of casualties were caused in his brigade area by aerial firing, including from unmanned drones. ‘Most of the guys taken down were taken down by order of headquarters. The number of enemy killed by HQ-operated remote … compared to enemy killed by soldiers on the ground had absolutely inverted’.”
Continue reading New revelations continue to emerge about IDF "flexible" rules of engagement in last Gaza war