Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Israel’s Death Squads: An Insider’s Report

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 2, 2009

The question for me is: Will this story reverberate the way it should in America, or is it going to go unremarked by the media that most Americans use to get their news?

The Israeli military’s policy of targeted killings has been described from the inside for the first time. In an interview with The Independent on Sunday, and in his testimony to an ex-soldiers’ organisation, Breaking the Silence, a former member of an assassination squad has told of his role in a botched ambush that killed two Palestinian bystanders, as well as the two militants targeted.

The operation, which took place a little over eight years ago, at the start of the present intifada, or uprising, left the former sharpshooter with psychological scars. To this day he has not told his parents of his participation in what he called “the first face-to-face assassination of the intifada”.


The incident described by the ex-soldier appears almost trivial by comparison with so much that has happened since in Gaza, culminating in more than 1,200 Palestinian casualties inflicted by Operation Cast Lead this January. It might have been forgotten by all except those directly affected, if it had not been for the highly unusual account of it he gave to Breaking the Silence, which has collected testimony from hundreds of former troops concerned about what they saw and did – including abuses of Palestinians – during their service in the occupied territories.

That account, expanded on in an interview with the IoS, and broadly corroborated by another soldier’s testimony to Breaking the Silence, directly challenges elements of the military’s official version at the time, while casting new light on the tactic of targeted assassination by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). So do comments by the father of one of the Palestinians killed, and one who survived, also traced by the IoS.

Our source cannot be identified by name, not least because by finally deciding to talk about what happened, he could theoretically be charged abroad for his direct role in an assassination of the sort most Western countries regard as a grave breach of international law. From a good home, and now integrated into civilian life in the Tel Aviv area, the former soldier is about 30. Intelligent and articulate, and with a detailed memory of many aspects, he is scrupulous in admitting his recall of other points may be defective.

This is big news in Europe. Will it be big news here? And will the soldier’s identity be discovered by those wishing vengeance against him for his courage in speaking out?

2 Responses to “Israel’s Death Squads: An Insider’s Report”

  1. Charles II said

    The only real news is that using sharpshooters, they only killed two completely innocent people. When they use missiles for “targeted” assassinations, they usually kill ten times that many innocents.

  2. Exactly. As the article note, it also does seem rather odd to focus on these two deaths, when over a thousand Gazan civilians died in Operation Lebensraum Cast Lead. But I guess it’s different when you’re close enough to see the looks of horror on the faces of the people you’re killing.

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