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March 13, 2009
Week in review: Pakistani protests and Irish violence

Gideon Rose of Foreign Affairs Magazine and Carol Giacomo of The New York Times editorial board join Martin Savidge to discuss the week’s top stories: Pakistani protests and the government’s crackdown against its opponents, the Obama administration’s plan for a new strategy to win over insurgents in Afghanistan and violence in Northern Ireland that represents a growing threat to peace in the province.

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Another story worth your focus, Worldfocus. Do not worry about sponseres you will get many people to give you money if you tell the truth
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Last update – 21:13 18/03/2009
Haaretz reveals: IDF testimonies paint grim picture of Gaza war
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent

Initial testimonies given by Israel Defense Forces soldiers and officers who fought in Israel’s offensive on the Gaza Strip earlier this year paints a grim picture of civilian deaths, deliberate destruction of Palestinian property and loose orders to open fire.

Dozens of combat soldiers, graduates of the Oranim pre-military institute, gathered at their alma mater last month relate their experiences during Operation Cast Lead.

Their on-the-ground testimonies are different from the army’s official statements, in which the IDF insisted its forces paid heed to high moral conduct in every sector.

In one testimony, a soldier describes an incident in which an IDF sniper killed a Palestinian woman and her two children.

“There was one house with a family in it… we put them into some room. Afterward, we left the house and another company went in, and a few days after we went in there was an order to release the family. We took our positions upstairs.”

“There was a sniper position on the roof and the company commander released the family and told them to take a right,” said the soldier. “One mother and her two children didn’t understand, and they took a left. Someone forgot to notify the sniper on the roof that the family had been released, and that it was okay, it was fine, to hold fire, and he… you can say he acted as necessary, as he was ordered to.”

More soldier testimonies will be published in Haaretz over the coming days.



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Dear Mark: Can worldfocus bring some signature stories from Gaza, Americans need to know what happened. I hope your station will take the lead on this


w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m

Can world focus bring stories from Gaza on these issues and inform us what realy happened. It is amazing to know that all this was done and you never showed anything to the us. Journalism is about telling stories, here are great stories to tell
Last update – 02:50 17/03/2009
The writing on the wall
By Amira Hass

We came to annihilate you; Death to the Arabs; Kahane was right; No tolerance, we came to liquidate. This is a selection of graffiti Israeli soldiers left on the walls of Palestinians’ homes in Gaza, which they turned into bivouacs and firing positions during Operation Cast Lead. Here and there, a soldier scribbled a line of mock poetry or biblical quote in the same sentiment. There were also curses on the Prophet Mohammed and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, along with shift schedules and favorite soccer teams.

When the homes’ owners returned, they usually found widespread devastation – whether from the first shells the Israel Defense Forces fired to chase away the inhabitants, or from break-ins and the destruction of furniture, clothing, walls, computers and appliances. Frequently the breached homes remained standing in a neighborhood whose other houses were turned into rubble by bulldozers. The residents also found the trash the soldiers left behind.

In Israel, research institutes count every abusive slogan scrawled on Jewish cemeteries abroad and document every problematic article, to monitor the upsurge in anti-Semitism. The media attributes importance to every piece of graffiti against assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. But the everyday racism – both institutionalized and popular, declarative and practical – against the Arabs of Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank are usually cautiously and frugally covered.

No wonder the Hebrew graffiti, whose writers were also destructive, on walls in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods were not picked up by Israeli antennae, always so sensitive to racism against Jews.

The military spokespeople could dismiss the reports and testimony of the killing of many civilians at short or long range as fabricated or manipulative, or could answer generally that the terrorists were responsible because they were hiding nearby. Israeli society, from whose view Cast Lead has been buried in a closed archive, is always ready for any trick to explain how righteous and morally superior its army is.

But the photographic evidence of the Hebrew graffiti is hard to deny or call fabricated; all the more so when it appears alongside the names of army units and individual soldiers. Indeed, the military spokesman said the graffiti contravenes the values of the IDF, and the IDF views it gravely.

Not all the soldiers wrote graffiti, but the comrades and commanders of those who did neither stopped them nor erased what they scrawled. So this is where we can praise the soldiers’ sincerity and integrity. They felt free to write what they did because they – like the pilots and operators of the missile-bearing drones – knew they had received from their government and commanders a free hand to attack a civilian population. Why then should there be a problem with the words they chose? What they wrote on the walls reflects their understanding of the spirit of their mission.

Unlike the older commanders, who are permitted to speak to certain journalists acceptable to the army, and who recite carefully what the IDF’s legal advisers and the State Prosecutor’s Office tell them to say, the writers of the graffiti – soldiers in the regular army who grew up with the occupation and Israel’s military superiority – have not yet understood that the world makes more than weapons. It also makes laws, rules and human norms.

Their commanders permitted them to contravene norms they are obviously unaware of. Unlike those who formulate the IDF Spokesman’s responses, the young, unsophisticated soldiers are inexperienced at covering up the army’s actions and its mission, their mission, with words that blur the truth.




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