22 September '10
The Washington Post's Joel Greenberg reports Killing of Hamas operative raises questions about conduct of elite Israeli units in pursuing militants. When you see a headline like that you realize that the reporter is looking to manufacture said questions. If Greenberg, for example, had witnessed the soldiers going into a pizza store, buying a soda and getting change, you'd see the headline, "Purchase of soda raises questions about spending habits of Israeli soldiers."
The Israeli version is that Iyad Abu Shilbaya made threatening moves against the soldiers, so they shot him. The Israelis acknowledge that no weapon was found on Shilbaya. To bolster his case that there are questions about the conduct of the soldiers, Greenberg gets statements from Shilbaya's brother, widow and members of "Breaking the silence" and B'tselem. In other words Greenberg based his story on relatives of the slain man and people who raise questions about the conduct of IDF in nearly all circumstances.
Still I think what the former solidier who's now associated with Breaking the silence says is important.
But a former soldier in Cherry who spoke on condition of anonymity said in an interview that the rules were "very fluid" and changed according to circumstances. The veteran, a member of the group Breaking the Silence, which publishes accounts by discharged soldiers who served in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, said that in close encounters with militants, members of the unit were given broad discretion to open fire.
In one operation, he recalled, soldiers were told that their objective was an armed militant, and that "if you see a weapon near him, you shoot. If he makes any strange or sudden move, you shoot. Don't take a risk. If you shoot, you'll have backing."
"The culture of the unit was to arrest, but also not to take risks," the veteran said. In some cases, soldiers were given the message that "killing the terrorist was best," he added.
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