Friday, November 26, 2010

Amira Hass: IDF generals, not just soldiers, must answer questions on human shields

The Givati soldiers’ conviction essentially handed the post of chief of staff to Yoav Galant and bestowed legal immunity on political figures, in particular Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak.

By Amira Hass, Haaretz, Nov 24, 2010


The Givati Brigade soldiers who were tried and convicted of risking the life of a non-combatant Palestinian child are entitled to feel like victims. But why shouldn’t they feel patriotic pride? Their conviction essentially handed the post of chief of staff to Yoav Galant and bestowed legal immunity on political figures, in particular Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak.

They were just small cogs who were brainwashed about the might of the enemy. Look at the statements other soldiers made to the organization Breaking the Silence; some of them quickly realized their commanders had filled them with lies before the ground offensive on the Gaza Strip on January 3, 2009. But even if the two convicted Givati soldiers had the maturity and judgment to realize this wasn’t the heroic struggle for which they had been prepared, it’s clear they acted out of fear when they ordered a 9-year-old boy to open bags. They grew up in an atmosphere that one could do anything to the Palestinians in Gaza. They didn’t come up with that approach – they’re the lower rank soldiers that the system put under the spotlight.
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