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July 28, 2016 / 22 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘IDF’

2014 Gaza War Parents Demand Investigation of Operation’s Conduct, High Losses

Monday, July 25th, 2016

Two years after Operation Protective Edge, in which 66 IDF soldiers and five civilians were killed, the bereaved families of the fallen are demanding an independent committee to examine the preparations for the war, the way it was conducted, and the lessons to be learned.

The 32 families on Sunday demanded in a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Liberman that a state commission headed by a judge investigate the government’s decision-making process throughout the war.

In their letter, the families mentioned the fact that the Knesset Foreign and Security Committee had been asked to examine the events of the 2014 war and has yet to issue a report. One report that had been produced by the committee was shelved because of the 2015 elections. Referring to the same committee’s publicized intent to renew its investigation, the families argued it made no sense to “reconvene a committee that has already investigated the events and opted not to publish its conclusions.”

“Even if the decision to shelve the conclusions was made by a different person than the current committee head, it would be inappropriate to renew the discussion after such a long period of time, and it could appear as a lack of transparency or exterior pressures which do not belong in an investigation of this scope,” the families wrote.

On the evening of June 12, 2014, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and later murdered in Judea and Samaria by Hamas operatives. Their bodies were discovered on June 30. Israel retaliated with air strikes on Gaza in which 3 Arabs were killed and a dozen injured. Hamas retaliated with rockets that were fired at Israeli civilian centers wounding three people. On July 7, 80 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, and the Netanyahu security cabinet decided to launch a counter-terrorist operation. The IDF bombarded targets in the Gaza Strip with artillery and airstrikes, and Hamas continued to fire rockets and mortar shells into Israel. A cease-fire proposal was announced by the Egyptian government and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on July 14, and the Israeli government accepted it and stopped the attacks on the morning of July 15. But Hamas rejected the ceasefire and the war was renewed. By July 16 the death toll in Gaza had reached 200.

On July 16, Hamas and Islamic Jihad offered a 10-year truce with ten conditions, including lifting of the Gaza blockade and the release of prisoners who were re-arrested after being released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap. Israel refused those terms. On July 17, a five-hour humanitarian ceasefire, proposed by the UN, took place. But a few hours before the ceasefire was to start, 13 armed Hamas terrorists emerging from a tunnel on the Israeli side of the Gaza border. The IDF destroyed the tunnel’s exit, ending the incursion.

After the ceasefire, the IDF launched a ground offensive on the Gaza Strip, aimed at destroying the terror tunnels crossing under the Israeli border. On July 20, the IDF entered Shuja’iyya in Gaza City and encountered heavy resistance. Thirteen IDF soldiers were killed, including two Americans serving in Israel. Seven of the IDF soldiers were killed as their armored vehicle was hit by an anti-tank rocket or an improvised explosive device, and three were killed in clashes with terrorists. Three IDF soldiers were trapped in a burning house. In the next 24 hours, three more IDF soldiers were killed in Shuja’iyya.

Shortly after the battle, twenty civilians from Shuja’iyya were shot for protesting against Hamas. Hamas said it had executed Israeli spies.

On August 3, the IDF pulled most of its ground forces out of the Gaza Strip after completing the destruction of 32 terror tunnels. On August 5 Israel announced that it had arrested Hossam Kawasmeh, suspected of having organized the killing of the three teenagers. According to court documents, Kawasmeh stated that Hamas members in Gaza financed the recruitment and arming of the killers.

JNi.Media

Israeli Soldier Charged for Shooting Wounded Hebron Terrorist Testifies in Court

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Jaffa (TPS) – Sgt. Elor Azaria, the Israeli soldier who is charged with manslaughter for shooting and killing an already wounded Palestinian Authority Arab terrorist in Hebron in March, began testifying on Sunday at the military court in Jaffa. Azaria offered his version of the incident, which has been under extensive media scrutiny, and criticized the country’s leaders for condemning his actions and for not supporting him.

“The prime minister, defense minister and chief of staff all condemned my actions before hearing what I had to say,” charged Azaria. “I immediately lost faith in them. I feel like a scapegoat that they picked to clear the army’s name.”

Azaria’s testimony follows that of relevant state witnesses, including IDF soldiers and officers, members of the IDF Criminal Investigations Department, and Imad Abu-Shamsiya, a photographer for the NGO B’Tselem. Abu-Shamsiya filmed Azaria shooting and killing the wounded terrorist, who had stabbed and injured another IDF soldier several minutes earlier. The video quickly circulated and provoked outrage, causing the military to suspend Azaria.

“I am an army medic so I was not present at most military briefings,” testified 20-year-old Azaria. “I felt I was assigned tasks beyond my capabilities. I was given serious responsibilities without adequate sleep.”

Azaria’s main line of defense is that he shot the wounded Arab terrorist, Abdul Fatah al-Sharif, due to fear that al-Sharif was wearing an explosive vest and that the shooting was thus carried out in self-defense.

“I rushed to the scene and was told that there had been an attack and that someone was stabbed, my first incident with a real casualty,” Azaria testified in court. “I treated the wounded soldier while people started yelling, ‘he has an explosive device,’ and I saw that the terrorist had a big black coat that looked like he was hiding something. We were warned about the possibility of a ‘high-level attack,’ and I understood that this was it.”

“I saw that the terrorist was moving his hand toward the knife and it looked suspicious to me,” said Azaria. “I had no way to know for certain and felt that everyone at the scene was in danger. I took my weapon, loaded it, and saw that the people around me were complacent. I walked between them, screamed ‘move,’ and fired one bullet towards the terrorist’s head. I neutralized him to save the lives of everyone at the scene. I had a dilemma before pulling the trigger, but felt I had no choice.”

“After the shooting, I told my company commander Tom Na’aman that I had fired the shot,” he added. “He shouted at me, saying ‘what are you doing? Are you nuts?’ And then he slapped me twice. It was the first time I had shot a person and I was under stress. I did not understand why he reacted like that in front of everyone instead of trying to calm me down.”

“I was shocked by the incident itself and also by my commander. I lost faith in him,” testified Azaria. “The army had told us it would take care of us like a parent, but my commander turned on me. It was all lies.”

The prosecution alleges that Azaria shot a terrorist that posed no threat. “The soldier acted against the rules of engagement and without operational justification,” the military prosecution said. “The terrorist al-Sharif was lying on the ground, did not attack again, and did not pose an immediate threat to the defendant or to the civilians and soldiers who were at the scene. In his actions, the defendant caused the unlawful death of the terrorist.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Israel On My Mind – Kosher Bacon and Pokemon Nation [audio]

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Will the IDF ‘catch em all?’ And in a world in which many are starving, can the answer be meat that is ‘grown’ in a lab? How are Israeli apps helping us from the cradle to the grave? All this and more on this week’s show!

Israel On My Mind 21Jul – PODCAST

Israel News Talk Radio

16 Terror Suspects Captured in Joint Military Operations

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Sixteen terror suspects were captured late Wednesday night and into the wee hours of Thursday in joint operations carried out by IDF soldiers together with agents from the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and Israel Police.

Of those taken into custody, 14 of the fugitives were wanted for terror-related activities, according to military sources.

The suspects were arrested in various locations throughout Judea and Samaria, including the towns of Al-Bireh, Bethlehem, Kfar Kalil and Tulkarem.

All of the detainees were transferred to security personnel for interrogation.

Hana Levi Julian

Senior IDF Officer Indicted for Sexual Misconduct

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

The military prosecutor on Thursday submitted to a special military court indictments against Brigadier General Ofek Buchris, on several counts of rape, sodomy, indecent assault and misconduct against two female soldiers who served under his command during his tenure as Golani Brigade Commander.

Buchris, 48, a religious Orthodox Jew, graduated from Midrashiat Noam and the pre-military academy of Ateret Kohanim yeshiva. He is married, the father of six children, and lives in Mitzpe Netofa in the Lower Galilee.

In late 2015 the military was about to appoint him Head of the Operations Division, a senior position in the IDF command. Then, in February 2016, deputy chief of staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan suspended Buchris following a complaint by one of his female subordinates in Golani. The Military Police investigations unit launched an investigation of accusations of rape against him. Buchris denied all the accusations from the start, but on March 10 the new chief of staff Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot revoked his high command appointment, since the investigation was dragging on and the army needed to fill the post.

An announcement from the IDF Spokesperson’s office described Buchris as “an officer and a warrior with a stellar record; the Judge Advocate General said that he made his decision with a heavy heart. Still, during the thorough investigation some alleged evidence surfaced to the fact that the officer carried out several serious sexual offenses against a junior enlisted female soldier and against a female officer, while the two were serving under his command as Golani Brigade Commander. Therefore the Judge Advocate General decided to indict him.”

Buchris and his military defenders issued a statement saying, “We regret the decision of the Judge Advocate General and think it is fundamentally erroneous. During the hearing process we presented to the JAG serious problems with which the case is rife. We are certain that we’ll be able to fight and prove Brigadier General Buchris’s innocence in court and that justice will prevail.”

Attorneys for the complaining officer, a Major, said that their client “was dragged into this affair against her choice, did not initiate a complaint against Brigadier General Ofek Buchris and was prepared to continue with her life. But once the military police investigators had come to her, she told them the truth regarding his behavior towards her. From the start she was certain that as soon as she exposed his actions he would be indicted, and that’s what took place today. The officer is certain the judicial system will know how to handle this case properly.”

In May 2002, Buchris commanded an operation to locate explosives labs and capture wanted terrorists in Shechem; during the raid on a house the company commander was killed and Buchris was severely injured, after being hit by four bullets. He received a commendation from then chief of staff Shaul Mofaz for his bravery.

In July 1994, while serving in the security strip in southern Lebanon, two of Buchris’s men were killed and four others were injured during an operational accident, when a troops carrier hit a high voltage wire; Buchris was indicted together with his battalion commander and the sector commander. They were acquitted of causing death through negligence but were convicted of negligence of duty.

JNi.Media

Shots at IDF Post near Lebanon Border

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

On Wednesday morning an IDF post in the Metula area, near the Lebanese border, was fired on, the IDF Spokesperson’s Office reported, suggesting these may have been stray bullets. One IDF soldier was injured from a shrapnel that was blocked by his dog tag. He was evacuated to a nearby emergency room with a minor chest injury.

There were no other casualties and the event is being investigated.

David Israel

Dawabsheh Clan Burns another Home in Duma Village

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

It’s what they do: overnight a home belonging to a member of the Dawabsheh clan in the Duma village south of Shechem in Samaria was set on fire. Ma’an reported that two Molotov cocktails were thrown at the house and its second floor caught fire. The house sustained heavy damages but no one was hurt.

There was a feeble attempt on the part of the PA Arabs to blame the “settlers” for the arson (the Ma’an headline ran: “Settlers burn a house in Douma, south of Nablus”), but a preliminary investigation showed it was a villager-on-villager arson, which is how most arson cases in Duma get started. Over the past year and a half there have been at least six arson cases in Duma, because arson is how the local clan, the Dawabshehs, are known to settle their internal accounts.

Speaking of which, the much celebrated Duma arson case is reaching its first anniversary in 11 days, on July 31, and the security apparatus is yet to submit convincing charges to the courts, especially since their version and the descriptions of local Arabs of what took place that night do not match. And while it is true that three members of a Dawabsheh family, including a baby, lost their lives in the fire that night, the prosecution appears reluctant to proceed with the case against Amiram Ben-Uliel and a minor. Ben-Uliel has retracted his confession, saying it had been extracted under torture — which it was, according to Shabak reports, with the blessings of then AG Yehuda Weinstein.

Arab activist Ghassan Douglas, who is in charge of monitoring settlement activities in Judea and Samaria, informed Ma’an it was the settlers who threw those Molotov cocktails Tuesday night—which is par for the course for this PA official. According to Douglas, it had to be the “settlers,” since the owner of the house “felt strange movement around the house”—so that proves it, and also the materials used were highly flammable—must be the Jews, and, most emphatically, as Ma’an put it in simple language: “The Israeli government released 15 settlers out of 17 of the defendants [in the Duma case] to carry out acts of terrorism against citizens in the West Bank.” Case closed…

The IDF initially suggested last night’s fire started due to faulty wiring, but as of Wednesday morning all sides agree it was the Dawabsheh folks settling accounts in their favorite fashion.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/dawabsheh-clan-burns-another-home-in-duma-village/2016/07/20/

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