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NU Defends IDF Against Claims of Careless Shooting

IDF Military Police to investigate claims of careless IDF shooting of Arab civilians during Gaza battles. NU MKs: Claims aim to weaken IDF.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 3/19/2009, 6:44 PM / Last Update: 3/19/2009, 8:44 PM

The IDF Military Police is to investigate claims of careless shooting of Arab civilians by IDF soldiers during the recent battles in Gaza, known as Operation Cast Lead. National Union MKs say the claims are designed to weaken the IDF.

The claims were made by several Cast Lead fighters, graduates of one of Israel's few non-religious pre-military mechina academies. 

One of the student-fighters said he saw an elderly woman walking on the road who was shot by soldiers. Another one said a mother and two children were told to turn left, and instead turned right – and the sniper on the roof, who was not informed of their arrival, shot them.

National Union MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari said in response, “The students set out on a PR campaign to malign the IDF. The forum at which these claims were made should be brought up for Knesset debate.”

MK Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh) said, “The IDF is the most ethical and moral army in the world. The report is tendentious, and its goal is merely to weaken the IDF.”

Rabbi Moshe Hager, a colonel in the IDF reserves and head of the pre-military yeshiva academy in Yatir, told Voice of Israel Radio that these claims need not be granted more weight than they deserve. “There were several incidents of mistaken fire on our own forces [four Israelis were killed in such incidents - ed.], so it is likely that there were similar incidents against Arab civilians,” he said.