550 IDF officers and soldiers interrogated about possible war crimes in Gaza

By Yossi Yehoshua, Yediot Aharonot – 18 July 2010 (Hebrew, page 8 )
Reported and commented on by Max Blumenthal; English translation provided by Max Blumenthal
http://maxblumenthal.com/2010/07/bombshell-report-550-idf-officers-and-soldiers-interrogated-for-possible-war-crimes-in-gaza/

550 [IDF] officers and soldiers of “Cast Lead” have been interrogated

Brigadier Ilan Malka is not alone. More than 550 officers and men of IDF who participated in the “Cast Lead” operation have been interrogated by the investigative military police of the IDF in the last 18 months.

Last Friday “Yediot Aharonot” wrote that former Giv’ati brigade commander [Ilan Malka] will be interrogated about an aerial attack in “Cast Lead” that killed 21 members of one [Gaza] family. It now turns out that hundreds more were interrogated, some more than once. Among the interrogated are almost all battalion commanders who participated in the operation and dozens of soldiers in regular service and in the reserves. It is a number without precedent in any other [Israeli] operation or war. Senior officers expressed their worry that this will create a situation in future wars where commanders in the field will think twice before carrying out problematic operations, due to fear of legal steps taken against them later. Battalion and platoon commanders who participated in “Cast Lead” find it difficult to go through the interrogations. One battalion commander said he had to spend his few days of Leave in interrogation chambers instead of with his family. He said “Even if they try to deny it the damage caused to commanders is immense” adding “It is an unpleasant feeling to risk your life for your country and then be interrogated about it again and again”.

So far the interrogations gave rise to a considerable number of disciplinary – and legal – steps. The most serious one was taken last week when the Chief Military Prosecutor, General Avihai Mandelblit, decided to charge a Giv’ati soldier for committing murder. On another occasion he decided to court-martial a Golani battalion commander for ignoring IDF instructions forbidding “use of neighbor” tactics.

[IOA Editor:“Use of neighbor” tactic is the act where soldiers preparing to enter a suspected house force the neighbors to walk in front of them as a human shield.]

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