Until now, the Israeli army was countering all allegations that war crimes were committed during its recent offensive in Gaza by claiming it was Palestinian propaganda.
Even it rubbished the UN accusations of War crimes and is refusing to co-operate with the UN appointed team probing the matter.
[The 22 day military action by Israel on Gaza strip resulted in killing of over 1400 Palestinians including around 400 children]
Now, though, the accusations of abuse are being made by Israeli soldiers.
A Human Rights Group formed by Israeli Army Veterans called ‘Breaking the Silence’ have collected testimonies from unnamed Israeli Soldiers confirming the fact that Israeli Army forced Palestinian civilians to serve as human shields, needlessly killed unarmed Gazans and improperly used white phosphorus shells to burn down buildings as part of Israel’s attack on Gaza last winter.
Some of the incidents Soldiers described included those in which Israeli forces killed an elderly woman carrying a sack,unarmed Palestinian carrying a white cloth,an elderly man with a flashlight, and a Gazan riding a motorcycle.
The testimony which also included 16 video clips of interviews with 26 Israeli soldiers offers the most comprehensive proof of Israeli Army’s war crimes. Many of the testimonies are in line with accusations made by human rights organisations that Israeli military action in Gaza was indiscriminate and disproportionate.
Yehuda Shaul, a co-founder of Breaking the Silence, said the report didn’t identify the soldiers by name because at least half the men quoted were young conscripts who could be jailed for speaking to the media.
Israeli soldiers who were interviewed said they forced Palestinians to search homes for militants and enter buildings ahead of soldiers.
“Sometimes a force would enter while placing rifle barrels on a Palestinian civilian’s shoulder, advancing into a house and using him as a human shield,”
According to the soldiers, the Israeli military fired white phosphorus mortars and artillery shells to set suspicious buildings ablaze and destroyed scores of Palestinian homes for questionable reasons.
“You felt like a child playing around with a magnifying glass, burning up ants,” another Israeli soldier said. “A 20-year-old kid should not be doing such things to people. . . . the guys were running a ‘Wild West’ scene: draw, cock, kill.”