Monday, January 26, 2009

Israeli Soldiers Confirm Suicide Orders Over Being Taken Hostage in Gaza War

According to the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv and the Israeli Channel 10 Tv station, a number of Israeli soldiers have confirmed that they were given strict orders not to be kidnapped, and to kill themselves rather than be taken hostage in the War on Gaza. See the report at arabs48 here.

This would strengthen Hamas' claim that two kidnapping operations did take place, the first on the third day of the ground invasion and the second on January 5, and that in both cases, the Israeli air force struck and killed the kidnappers and the kidnapped - their own soldiers. See my previous post on this issue here. At the time I wrote that report, there was no news of the kidnappings. However, now Israeli soldiers and the media are speaking up.

According to an officer from Battalion 501 of the elite Golani Brigades, "No troop member from the 501 battalion was to be kidnapped at any cost, nor in any situation, even if this means blowing up a grenade in his possession, killing himself and those trying to kidnap him".

According to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Aharonot, army instructions called for the prevention of kidnapping at all costs, including shooting at the area where the kidnapped soldier was being held.

According to one soldier, he received the following instruction from a Givati Brigades officer before the ground incursion into Gaza, "What is happening is not important, there will not be a kidnapped soldier, we will not have 2 Gilad Shalits at any price."

Is this honestly an establishment and an order that cares about its soldiers? The government's public adulation for Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped June 2006, really amounts to naught when we factor in these strict orders - for Israeli soldiers to commit suicide over being taken hostage - during the Gaza operation.

We come to realise that Israeli lives do not matter, contrary to government professions. The gesturing for Gilad Shalit is just that, gesturing. What the overarching goal of the government is is to prevent 'political casualties', those events that would make the government appear weak.

The Israeli establishment's war ethos makes it so morally devoid that not only do over 1300 Palestinian lives, 86% of them civilians, not count, their own countrymen do not count either - they explicitly call for their deaths over suffering a 'political casualty'.

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