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Izrael: Minister obrony zarządził śledztwo w sp...

IP: * 02.09.02, 11:11
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    • fredzio54 Re: Izrael: Minister obrony zarządził śledztwo w 02.09.02, 11:48
      Def. Min. wants probe findings into civilian deaths by end of week

      By Amira Hass, Ha'aretz Correspondent and Ha'aretz Service

      Following a spate of recent incidents in which Palestinian civilians have been
      killed during IDF operations in the territories, Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-
      Eliezer instructed IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon on Sunday night to launch
      an inquiry - to be headed by an officer ranked at least general - to examine
      the events.

      Ben-Eliezer said he wanted the findings presented to him by the end of the
      week, with "operative recommendations to prevent the recurrence of such
      unfortunate accidents in the future."

      Early yesterday morning, IDF soldiers shot and killed four Palestinians near
      the Beni Na'im stone-cutting plant, but there were contradictory accounts of
      the events leading up to the deaths.

      According to eyewitness accounts collected by the Palestinian human rights
      organization, El Haq, the soldiers shot the four - who it claims were workers
      at the plant - at close range, after they had already been placed under arrest.

      The IDF denies the Palestinian version of events, with a military spokesman
      saying that an IDF force identified several suspects who had broken into a
      Jewish-owned plot of land close to Beni Na'im. The soldiers opened fire on the
      group, which had already penetrated the compound.

      The IDF also said that when they scoured the area after daybreak, they
      discovered the tools used to break into the grove, as well as weapons such as
      clubs, axes and several wirecutters.

      In recent weeks, there had been several warnings of a planned attack on the
      plot, where several yeshiva students from Hebron were wounded by a bomb three
      months ago. The land belongs to an ex-member of the Jewish underground,
      Menachem Livni.

      On Saturday, five Palestinians - including a militant, two teenagers and two
      children - were killed in a failed IDF attempt to assassinate a Palestinian on
      its wanted list in the West Bank village of Tubas, east of Nablus. The two
      children, aged 6 and 10, were killed when one of the missiles fired by an
      attack helicopter slammed into their home.

      Another missile hit the car in which the militant and two teenagers were
      travelling. But the intended target of the operation - Jihad Sauafta, 27, a
      member of the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade - escaped.

      That incident followed another attack, last Thursday, in which four
      Palestinians, including a mother, two of her children, and a cousin were killed
      when an IDF tank fired a shell into a Bedouin encampment in the Gaza Strip.

      In late July, 15 civilians, including nine children, were killed when the IAF
      dropped a one-ton bomb on the home of Salah Shehadeh, the leader of the
      military wing of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Shehadeh was also killed in the

      In the wake of the killings, some Israeli leaders, politicians and ex-military
      men have begun to suggest that the army might have become somewhat trigger

      Labor MK Haim Ramon, who heads the prestigious Knesset Foreign Affairs and
      Security committee, said Sunday that the IDF had to check that the
      recent "series of mistakes" was not the result of a "change in policy" and
      an "easing of the finger on the trigger."

      "Every harming of innocents," said Ramon, "adds people to the cycle of terror
      who would never have thought of joining, because they say (to themselves) that
      Israel does not distinguish between those who carry out acts of terror and
      those who don't."

      A former head of Israeli forces in the West Bank, Zvi Poleg, suggested that
      soldiers at outposts in the West Bank were nervous because of the ever-present
      threat of attack, and that this was the reason for "a light finger on the
      trigger... I back the soldiers and the activities (against terror), but if we
      want to maintain the norms of an enlightened country… then the killing of
      civilians has to be investigated."

      President Moshe Katzav also called Sunday for the military to review the recent
      spate of killings, but he said he was sure that if the army reached the
      conclusion "that soldiers are trigger happy, it will obviously draw the
      necessary conclusions." He said it would be "a hasty conclusion to draw at this

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