Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Gaza: Israeli troops reveal ruthless tactics against Hamas

Gaza: Israeli troops reveal ruthless tactics against Hamas in

A reporter for what's a relatively conservative British paper conducts an interview with an Israeli lieutenant who's home from the front on leave. Undoubtably this was done with official Israeli permissions and likely approved by Israeli censors.

“We are treating everything as hostile right now. We were told not to take chances — to shoot rather than ask questions.”

Remember, this is in the middle of one of the most densely populated places on earth. Israel is attacking into a small strip occupied by a million and a half people.

“I’m not a newcomer in the army,” Alon told The Times. “Both my brothers served in combat units that saw action in Gaza. And I can say that this is the most aggressive line that we have ever taken towards fighting the Palestinians. As you say in English, the gloves were off.”

I'm starting to really dislike the 'gloves are off' euphemism for committing horrible war crimes. We've heard it here in the US as an euphemism for brutally kidnapping and torturing people, as well as for deliberate killings outside of any judicial system. Now we here it from Israel for deliberately killing a thousand people.

“It doesn’t look like we’ve been there a few weeks — it looks destroyed, demolished, like we were bombing it for years. You can’t imagine what damage we have done. We didn’t want any civilians to die, we do everything we can to make sure that Palestinian civilians there, the non-fighters, aren’t hurt. We tell them to leave the areas that we are fighting . . . but it’s not easy; what we are doing there is difficult work.”

From what you can see in the article, as he repeats the military propaganda, he seems unaware that he's contradicted himself. In the quote above, he says that his orders were to shoot anyone. Now he tries to claim that they are doing everything they can to make sure non-civilians aren't hurt. I suppose he thinks shooting them is the way to accomplish this, since he's already said he'd shoot anyone before figuring out who they are.

In one account, tank crews leading an armoured column to the beachfront suddenly saw a person standing in an open cabana less than a mile away. The figure quickly retreated as the tanks opened fire. “There have been several attempts to use antiarmour weaponry against us, in at least one case a long-range missile,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Erez, a tank commander, giving only his first name as per standard military policy. “We have responded pre-emptively and forcefully. We also hit anyone seen trying to observe our movements.”

So, to the Israeli army, again operating in a densely populated area, looking out your window at Israeli troops to see what they are doing is a death penalty offense.

In another account, published in the Israeli media, the Armoured 401st Brigade convoy had left Gaza’s coast and was heading towards Israel when its commander spotted people, apparently armed, on a rooftop about 800 metres away from the road. A few days before the Israelis had dropped leaflets calling on all residents living near the road to get out.

Like Alon, Lieutenant-Colonel Yigal had little room for doubt. After checking none of his comrades were in the area — four Israeli soldiers were killed by “friendly” fire in the first days of the offensive — he gave the order and machineguns and tanks opened up.

"Apparently armed". Yeah, like he could tell that from 800 meters away. Try that test with a friend. Have them move a half a mile away from where you are, then look at them and tell them what they are holding in their hands. Sounds like US troops who automatically say that everyone they kill was 'apparently armed'. It sounds better in an official report than 'we just murdered a bunch of civilians because they looked at us.'

For Alon, a return to the action cannot come fast enough. “It feels good to be winning again, to show that we are still the strongest army in the world,” he said — a reference to the 2006 Lebanon war, when confidence in the country’s forces was badly shaken by its inability to stop Hezbollah’s rocket attacks. “It was important to go in and remind them what we can do. It’s the only way to get them to stop.”

They've killed a thousand people, wounded thousands more, destroyed houses, schools, hospitals, mosques, government buildings, and terrorized a population of a million and a half people just to prove how tough they are.

And the official position of the US government is that we just love this. We think its great. We have a 'special relationship' with the killers. (US Senate supports Israel's Gaza incursion)

"When we pass this resolution, the United States Senate will strengthen our historic bond with the state of Israel, by reaffirming Israel's inalienable right to defend against attacks from Gaza, as well as our support for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said before the vote.

Noting that Israel was bent on halting Hamas rocket fire into its southern towns, Reid said: "I ask any of my colleagues to imagine that happening here in the United States. Rockets and mortars coming from Toronto in Canada, into Buffalo New York. How would we as a country react?"

Co-sponsor and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican said before the vote: "The Israelis ... are responding exactly the same way we would."

Toronto had better be careful.

And what is Obama doing?
President-elect Barack Obama Tuesday evening attending a dinner party at the home of conservative columnist George Will, attended by fellow conservatives William Kristol and David Brooks.

Aren't you glad you voted for 'change'?


Samson said...

As regard to Sen. Reid's comments, read this article by Robert Fisk Robert Fisk’s World: Wherever I go, I hear the same tired Middle East comparisons

Notice carefully how Sen. Reid's words exactly repeat, adjusted for local geometry, the same pro-Israel propaganda that's being heard around the world. These are obviously talking points that Israel has been distributing to its spokespeople and supporters.

Sen. Harry Reid, propaganda agent for the state of Israel. Well, that pretty much describes the Democratic party these days.

Lyle said...

I'm writing to follow up on Sunlight's promise to offer you more ways to help create more government transparency. We'd very much like you to be an early tester of LittleSis -- -- a wiki its creators, Public Accountability Initiative, appropriately describe as "an involuntary Facebook of powerful Americans."

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contracts, LittleSis is developing a platform that brings transparency to the influential networks that exert significant power in shaping public policy.

But, as the site is currently in beta, it does, admittedly, have some limitations -- principally its data and information isn't yet fully comprehensive. That's where you come in.

The easiest way to help LittleSis improve is by getting an account -- -- and editing the profile pages.

LittleSis is an experiment -- an ambitious one -- in the world of crowdsourcing of transparency and accountability efforts. It empowers us all to be our own best watchdogs and collectively develop an unprecedented, authoritative database of information on the powers that be.

We'd love to learn how you think LittleSis can be even better. They have some great ideas for next steps, including one for a browser plugin to automatically highlight hidden relationships between names in the news. Of course, Sunlight's partial to making LittleSis' raw data more accessible to political geeks eager to mash it up in new ways.

So, create an account at kick the tires and let us know what you think.

Gabriela Schneider & the Sunlight team

Lyle said...

Glenn Greenwald is on form at the moment. Jan 15th blog (Cross posted at CD) is superb "Establishment Washington unifies against prosecutions" and recent blogs have been equally interesting. Commondreams posts these. I can't work out why they block people from their website when they must read this stuff and have a position different to Glenn given their censorship of critics.

Lyle said...

Our New Attorney General, Eric Holder, will ensure we are safe from terrorists and extremists at the expense of our civil liberties. Thank God for that. Long Live AT&T and Verizon and their rights to know what I had for dinner and do for entertainment.

Lyle said...

Oh Sen Jay Rockefeller too

KDelphi said...

Here is an email that the Israeli govt sent out to bloggers that it thought would go along, as well as talking heads (if they will let me post it) well as a link that tells how they shut down an anti-draft group site from Israel, and are prosecuting them for "war crimes"! YOu wont believe it--if it doesnt post (it didnt one other place), theyve blocked the link..I'll try to post om next one...

Israel cracks down on antidraft websites:

I kept the site, but the letter to pundits (or bloggers) is gone...I will keep looking.

Just try googling Israeli anti-conscription or pro-Palestinain---what bs!!

I knew I shouldve saved the actual letter, but, I dont have a printer, and, do not know how. My in law has it, tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Samson Thanks for this. I haven't been banned from CD, but I never posted there. Your commentaries, and those from RichM, are sorely missed.

Little Brother I hope you will see this. Your writing struck a chord with me. You do have quite a way with words. Please reply to Sunny Jim:

Best to all former CDers!

Anonymous said...


It looks like my IP address is no longer banned but I don't bother posting there. I have also noticed that a lot of pissed off folks on that site who are against the pansy-like attitudes of Obama, Pelosi, Reid, etc ... show their thirst for hanging them? And I thought I was a wacko back in the days. It looks like there's a guy who brags about proudly voting for Nader and would like to give the Democrats a tough beating. His name is WYGUNSTON. He calls the Democrats no different from cheating spouses and he even discusses his experience of getting cheated. Sad that someone nice like him could turn violent just because his wife abused his nicety. Could you imagine what the Democrats would be like if more voters held them and the GOP accountable and voted Ralph or even Mckinney?

Anonymous said...

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