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Friday, March 20, 2009

Israeli soldiers fought 'religious war' in Gaza

Fri, 20 Mar 2009 19:29:47 GMT | PressTV

Israeli soldiers say they thought they were fighting a holy war in Gaza.
Israeli soldiers believed they were fighting a "religious war" against gentiles in January's Gaza offensive, a commander has revealed.

The Israeli army commander said military and non-military rabbis had circulated pamphlets among the battlefield troops, describing the operation as a "religious war" and that they were carrying out a "religious mission".

"Their message was very clear," he said. "We are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the gentiles who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land."

The account by Ram, a pseudonym to shield the soldier's identity, was published in the second day of shocking revelations that have rocked the Israeli military, Reuters reported.

"Many soldiers' feelings were that this was a war of religion," he added.

On Thursday, Israeli soldiers confessed to the wanton killing of civilians as well as intentionally destroying civilian property during the Gaza war.

The testimonies include the killing of a Palestinian mother and her two children by an Israeli sniper and the case of an elderly Palestinian woman who was killed as she was walking 100 meters (yards) from her home.

The shocking accounts are seen as evidence to war crimes and the massive violations of human rights by the Israeli army during the three-week war on the Gaza Strip.

International organizations and UN human rights investigations claim that the Israeli army deliberately used forbidden arms, such as depleted uranium and deadly white phosphorus shells, in densely populated civilian areas.

Other charges against Tel Aviv include the "reckless and indiscriminate" shelling of residential areas, the use of Palestinian families as human shields by Israeli soldiers and the unrelenting attacks on several medical facilities and UN compounds in the area.

UN high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, has said that most Israeli actions against the population of Gaza "appear to have all the elements of war crimes".

Despite countless allegations, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has yet to take action against Israel over its military conduct in Gaza.

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