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Israelis Murder Palestinian Police Officers

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    We killed police for revenge, Israeli soldiers confess By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem 03 June 2005
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 5, 2005
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      We killed police for revenge, Israeli soldiers confess
      By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
      03 June 2005
      http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=643659


      Two Israeli soldiers have come forward to describe how they took part
      in what they say was an officially ordered "revenge" operation to kill
      Palestinian police officers ­ among them several unarmed men.

      In graphic testimony, one soldier has confessed that he "really
      enjoyed" a chase in which he shot an unarmed Palestinian in the head
      who was trying to escape during a series of reprisal raids ordered the
      day after the killing of six Israeli soldiers in an ambush by militant
      gunmen three years ago.

      In what may be the first inside account of such an operation, the
      soldiers from two reconnaissance units say they were among troops
      ordered by their commanders to "liquidate" the police officers at a
      series of Palestinian West Bank checkpoints even though they were
      given no evidence they had been involved in the killing of the Israelis.

      The raids were among a series of ground and air attacks which, in all,
      killed 15 Palestinians ­ 12 of them policemen­ in and around Nablus
      and Ramallah 24 hours after the six Israeli soldiers were killed at a
      military post in the village of Ein Arik, west of Ramallah, at the
      height of the intifada.

      One soldier, who took part in the attack on a Palestinian post at Deir
      es Sudan said they had lain in wait after finding the position empty
      when they arrived in the middle of the night.

      "The idea was simply to kill them all. Whenever they arrived, we would
      kill them, regardless whether [they were]armed or not. If they were
      Palestinian policemen, they were to be shot. The order was given and
      our six opened fire."

      The soldier, from the Yael Reconnaissance Troop, said that their
      [naval] squad commander had told them: "We are going to kill six
      Palestinian policemen somewhere, revenging our six they took down". He
      added: "On my question 'what did they do?' the answer was there was a
      suspicion that the terrorist who killed our six came through that
      [Palestinian] checkpoint. Suspicion, but no concrete evidence. But I
      was told: 'it doesn't matter; they took six of ours, and we are going
      to take six of theirs.'"

      The soldier said that, after hitting and wounding two of the
      Palestinians as they tried to run away, the soldiers continued to
      fire, as one ran into a corrugated metal shed and another into a
      cemetery. After they sprayed the shed with bullets, a gas cylinder in
      it caught fire. "We had a killed policeman, another one in this
      burning inferno, and a third one, escaping. We ran after him into a
      graveyard ... stood on the surrounding wall and shot at him. We killed
      him too."

      The soldier said that no fire had been returned by the Palestinians
      and added: "Later we understood, that not one of them ... was armed."
      He added that he had inspected the "completely smashed" body of the
      man in the graveyard after shooting at it to "confirm the kill" and
      that it was of "a guy in his mid-50s or 60s, very old."

      The accounts were originally given to the "Breaking the Silence" group
      of young former soldiers which is critical of methods used by the army
      in the occupied territories.

      One of the group's spokesmen, Avichai Sharon, a former member of the
      crack Golani Brigade, claimed the operations on 20 February 2002 were
      ordered "from high"­ including the Ministry of Defence­ and added: "In
      my eyes, this is a very harsh example of crossing the moral and human
      boundaries."

      He said it indicated that "we are not a defence force any more but a
      tribe which avenges in blood. As an Israeli, I fear this."

      He said the soldiers, whose testimony appears in today's Maariv, had
      not been named "for legal reasons".

      Describing another attack on the same day at the Beit Ha Mitbachayim
      checkpoint on the eastern edge of Nablus ­ in which fire was returned
      by Palestinian police ­ the other soldier, from the Tzanchanim
      Paratroop Reconnaissance Unit, said that the order to shoot at
      Palestinians had given by the unit commander and the brigade
      commander, a Brigadier Cochavi, had been present at the time.

      He said the policemen were ones who normally would have been warned by
      Israeli liaison officers about any military operations due to take
      place in their area.

      The Israeli Defence Forces said last night that checkpoints attacked
      on the day in question had included ones where Palestinian police had
      "actively assisted ... terrorists" by facilitating their passage. The
      IDF had been instructed by the "political echelon" to change its mode
      of operation. It had been decided that the IDF would "hunt down all
      those involved in terror" including members of the Palestinian
      security apparatus until the PA prevented such attacks. As Israel
      released 400 Palestinian prisoners yesterday, Dov Weisglass, senior
      aide to Ariel Sharon, indicated the dismantlement of illegal
      settlement outposts ­ a demand by the US ­would have to wait until
      after Gaza disengagement.

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