More Photos: U.S. News and World Report: Desert Ignites in Israeli ‘Burning Man’
The Israeli army has been forced to open an investigation into the conduct of its troops in Gaza after damning testimony from its own front line soldiers revealed the killing of civilians and rules of engagement so lax that one combatant said that they amounted on occasion to “cold-blooded murder”.
The revelations, compiled by the head of an Israel military academy who declared that he was “shocked” at the findings, come as international rights groups are calling for independent inquiries into the conduct of both sides in the three-week Israeli offensive against Palestinian Islamists.
The soldiers’ testimonies include accounts of an unarmed old woman being shot at a distance of 100 yards, a woman and her two children being killed after Israeli soldiers ordered them from their house into the line of fire of a sniper and soldiers clearing houses by shooting anyone they encountered on sight.
“That’s the beauty of Gaza. You see a man walking, he doesn’t have to have a weapon, and you can shoot him,” one soldier told Danny Zamir, the head of the Rabin pre-military academy, who asked him why a company commander ordered an elderly woman to be shot.
The office at the Adiv fabric-printing shop in south Tel Aviv handles a constant stream of customers, many of them soldiers in uniform, who come to order custom clothing featuring their unit’s insignia, usually accompanied by a slogan and drawing of their choosing. Elsewhere on the premises, the sketches are turned into plates used for imprinting the ordered items, mainly T-shirts and baseball caps, but also hoodies, fleece jackets and pants. A young Arab man from Jaffa supervises the workers who imprint the words and pictures, and afterward hands over the finished product.
Dead babies, mothers weeping on their children’s graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques – these are a few examples of the images Israel Defense Forces soldiers design these days to print on shirts they order to mark the end of training, or of field duty. The slogans accompanying the drawings are not exactly anemic either: A T-shirt for infantry snipers bears the inscription “Better use Durex,” next to a picture of a dead Palestinian baby, with his weeping mother and a teddy bear beside him. A sharpshooter’s T-shirt from the Givati Brigade’s Shaked battalion shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull’s-eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, in English, “1 shot, 2 kills.” A “graduation” shirt for those who have completed another snipers course depicts a Palestinian baby, who grows into a combative boy and then an armed adult, with the inscription, “No matter how it begins, we’ll put an end to it.”
There are also plenty of shirts with blatant sexual messages. For example, the Lavi battalion produced a shirt featuring a drawing of a soldier next to a young woman with bruises, and the slogan, “Bet you got raped!” A few of the images underscore actions whose existence the army officially denies – such as “confirming the kill” (shooting a bullet into an enemy victim’s head from close range, to ensure he is dead), or harming religious sites, or female or child non-combatants.
In many cases, the content is submitted for approval to one of the unit’s commanders. The latter, however, do not always have control over what gets printed, because the artwork is a private initiative of soldiers that they never hear about. Drawings or slogans previously banned in certain units have been approved for distribution elsewhere. For example, shirts declaring, “We won’t chill ’til we confirm the kill” were banned in the past (the IDF claims that the practice doesn’t exist), yet the Haruv battalion printed some last year.
If Philip Weiss’s description of a recent 60 minutes segment is accurate (I haven’t watched the segment), then it sure sounds like it.
(Link via Robot Wisdom)
The latest bombing campaigns in Gaza seem to be a turning point in the coverage of Israel in the US. Gone are the days when Israel could do no wrong. Has Israel finally crossed a line that so that no amount of spin can make them look good?
And via Weiss, Bill Moyers puts the smack down on the national director of the Anti-Defamation League. Will accusations of antisemitism and sympathy for terrorists continue to work, against all reality, in shouting down critics of Israel?
srael and Hamas have mounted psychological warfare on each others’ civilian populations. Hamas says it is firing threatening text messages at Israeli mobile phones and jamming radio stations while Israel is bombarding Palestinians with menacing phone calls and leaflets.
“The messages say that the Palestinian resistance missiles will reach you wherever you are and your government won’t be able to protect you,” said Abu Mujaheid, spokesman for the Palestinian Resistance Committees.
Hamas says it can send up to 70,000 text messages but so far there have been reports of just dozens.
“[Israel is] sending text messages and interrupting Palestinian radio and trying to scare Palestinians with their messages so we are running a counter campaign by sending text messages to Israelis,” Mujaheid said.
If runway fashion is an art, then I suppose it makes sense that it’s being used as an avenue for political expression.
David Delfin presented a show in Madrid with hooded designs resembling “burqa head-coverings that women in Afghanistan had to wear when the Muslim fundamentalist Taliban were in power.” CNN: Death hoods bring fashion protest (via Drudge Report)
Saudi haute couture artist Yehya al-Bashri created a bloody stained dress with a picture of a tank on it to protest Israel’s treatment of Palestine. NY Post: Dressed to Kill on Day Terror Returns to Israel (via Drudge Report).
Despite restrictions, Daniel Barenboim, a Jewish pianist and conductor, gave a concert for peace at the Palestinian Bir Zeit University near Ramallah.
New York Times: ‘Moonlight’ and Mendelssohn in the West Bank
(via American Samizdat)
From Barenboim’s website:
Only twenty-four hours. To change the world you must stick to this timetable. In my dream, I am Prime Minister of Israel. My baton conducts a magnificent new symphony- a Treaty celebrating the harmonious co-existence of Israel and Palestine. In this work I will accomplish what has been impossible until now – the equal rights of these two peoples in the Middle East. The theme of the overture has Jerusalem as the common capital city. This Holy Town should immediately become a shared home for Christians, Muslims and Jews. For me, Jerusalem is a city that still resonates with a history from beyond the ancient civilizations of Rome and Athens.
According to Plastic Saudi Arabia has banned Pokemon. “…the video game and cards have symbols that include ‘the Star of David, which everyone knows is connected to international Zionism and is Israel’s national emblem, as well as being the first symbol of the Freemasons.”
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