Tuesday, November 23, 2004

 

What exactly does the IDF "investigate" then?

Last night, Israel's Channel Two played a leaked tape from the communications radios at the Girit outpost on the Philadelphi corridor from the time that the Givit company commander (referred to as R.) shot and killed 13-year-old Iman al-Hams. Amos Harel has an analysis of the tape's revelations in today's Ha'aretz.
The legal proceedings have only begun, but based on what the tape showed and the indictment against the Givati company commander R. claims, it is possible to cautiously draw a few interim conclusions.

Most of the debate about the incident was over whether the killing of the little girl was "verified," and the debate was based on the conflicting versions of the events as provided by R. and his troops. Last night the tape left no room for doubt - R. himself is heard saying, "I also verified her killing."

But that is far from the key question in the case. At least from the moral aspect, the main question is why the company commander and his soldiers fired at the girl who was 100 meters away from the outpost, was not armed, was not a danger to the soldiers inside the protected outpost, and when at least some of the soldiers knew that it was a little girl. A soldiers is explicitly heard saying "it's a little girl," and that she is "scared to death." Nonetheless, the shooting went on. Moreover, R. himself reports later that he shot "the girl."

No less important is the tone of the voices on the tape. Officers trying to explain what happened constantly said that the areas is dangerous, and that the soldiers were under threat. But that does not come across in the voices of the soldiers. They don't sound worried or pressured, but almost apathetic. They seem to be shooting because those are the orders - to shoot at anyone who comes close, even if some know it's only a girl, and there is no sense of fear. It seems, at least, that the order to shoot is blatantly illegal, and therefore the soldiers should have refused it. The question becomes, therefore, why only the company commander is being prosecuted, and only for illegal use of his weapon and not for manslaughter at the very least.
There is another question, too. The current investigation is one undertaken by the military police. There was already an internal IDF investigation, in which R. was found not to have acted "unethically" and was instead suspended because he had lost the support of his soldiers. In fact, Harel reveals, "it turns out the original corps level inquiry into the event did not even listen to the communications recordings, which were easily available." As Harel also points out, "There have been dozens of cases during the past four years in which IDF soldiers killed unarmed Palestinian civilians." Makes you wonder about those IDF investigations, doesn't it? Especially the ones that didn't receive the kind of public attention that this one did. The ones that could be swept under the table without headlines and leaks to Channel Two. In his conclusion, Harel writes:
The first intifada saw Givati trials one and two, which opened the pandora's box for the Israeli public about what soldiers were doing in their name in the territories. If R. insists on going through with his defense and does not work out a plea bargain with the military prosecution, it is entirely possible that this case will yet open the pandora's box to the public about what the army did in its name during the intifada.
Now I wonder about this. First of all, the atmosphere within Israel during the first intifada was totally different from the second intifada. I think you'd have to be pretty oblivious to have no idea of what was going on in the occupied territories if you lived in Israel. I think those that care already know and feel horribly about what is going on. The majority know (maybe not everything, but to some extent) what is happening and simply do not care. Under different political circumstances, with attitudes more willing to look at things from the other side, this might have an impact. But now, I don't know. Secondly, even if this opens the "pandora's box" on this intifada, how much does that matter? As Harel points out, the "pandora's box" was opened on the first intifada and how has the IDF really changed? Are things so much better now? I don't think so. Finally, if the IDF really does feel threatened by this, I think they will take Harel's advice seriously, throw R. under the bus, get a plea bargain with the military prosecution, and move on with business as usual.

Comments:
Veteran's Day is November 11th and I hope that EVERY American will be flying the flag in honor of our troops fighting in Iraq and around the world to preserve our freedoms!

I can even tell you where to get one for free! Visit AmericanFlags.com right now and they'll send you a FREE American Flag. These flags were $19.99, but now they are FREE. You pay just for shipping/handling and they'll ship one to your door. (Actually - I've ordered more than 20 from them to give to my neighbors, as gifts, etc!)

Get your free flag now: **FREE AMERICAN FLAG**

Semper Fi!

Bill Adams
 
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?