Special Defense of Israeli Soldiers If Charged With War Crimes
In the aftermath of the 22 day incursion into the Gaza Strip and Palestinian Territories, one of the most densely populated areas on earth, members of the international community, including Israeli, Palestinian and international human rights groups, are pressing for criminal charges, in the case of Israel, that it violated the laws of war. 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed during this recent action.
Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has declared that Israel will " .... fully back those who acted on its behalf," also saying, "The soldiers and commanders who were sent on missions in Gaza must know that they are safe from various tribunals."
From the article:
In addition to the civilian death toll, Israel has faced international criticism for its use of white phosphorous and for shelling attacks that struck U.N. schools and installations that were serving as shelters.
Israeli, Palestinian and international human rights groups have said they are seeking to build a case that Israel violated the laws of war. The groups are focusing on suspicions that Israel used disproportionate force and failed to protect civilians. They also have criticized Hamas for using civilians as human shields and firing rockets at civilian targets in Israel.
The article further states:
In another precaution, Israel's military censor already has barred publication of the names or pictures of battlefield officers from the offensive.
Israeli leaders have faced similar concerns in the past. In 2001, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was sued in Belgium over his alleged role in a 1982 massacre in Lebanon's Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. He was never convicted.
In 2005, a London court issued an arrest warrant for a retired Israeli general for his role in the bulldozing of houses in a Gaza refugee camp. The general ducked arrest by staying on his plane at London's Heathrow Airport and flying back to Israel. Another top official, Cabinet Minister Avi Dichter, turned down an invitation to Britain out of concern that he could be arrested for his role in the 2002 assassination of a senior Hamas militant in Gaza.
Click here to read the Washington Times article.
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Eyewitness accounts from NowPublic contributor Sameh Habeeb.