IDF and the murder of Egyptian POWs in the Sinai War of 1956

IOA Editor: References to Israeli soldiers murdering Egyptian prisoners of war, although never officially acknowledged by Israel, can be found in a variety of sources. Nathan Alterman, the most prominent Israeli poet and commentator in Israel’s early years, covered the Israeli concept of “purity of arms” — the mythological belief that the IDF does not engage in unjust killings — in this case, in connection with the Kafr Qasim massacre, a 1956 example of Israeli-style justice.

This case is interesting because it provides details on a discussion between Alterman and the young General Ariel Sharon, a senior commander during the the Sinai War — Israel’s invasion of the Sinai peninsula in 1956, with the aid of France and the UK. Sharon lies about both the cause and the timing of the killing of Egyptian war prisoners. The reporter investigating the case, citing Israeli historian Motti Golani, points to two incidents where IDF soldiers murdered Egyptian POWs during the 1956 Sinai War, in violation of international law and conventions.

By Dan Laor, Haaretz – 7 April 2012

An article in the Haaretz Culture and Literature section entitled “Ten-Commandments Mountain Cliffs Rising at the Edge of the Battlefield”  covering Israeli poet Nathan Alterman and his reaction to  the murder of Egyptian POWs in the 1956 Sinai war. (HEBREW)

Read (pdf)

(Adobe Reader required to read pdf file. Click HERE to download the free Adobe Reader)



Back to Top

Readers are welcome to discuss IOA content on our Facebook page. To participate, please click HERE.