Israeli army denies knowledge of 'no mercy' booklets

The Israeli military claimed Brigadier-General had not seen the booklet before its distribution and had not approved it.

Israeli army denies knowledge of 'no mercy' booklets

The Israeli military claimed on Wednesday Brigadier-General had not seen the booklet before its distribution and had not approved it.

An Israeli rights group, Yesh Din, called on Monday for the dismissal of the chief military rabbi, Brigadier-General Avichai Rontzki, saying he had authorised the booklet, written by a civilian rabbi who advocates Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

The booklet told soldiers to show no mercy because they were fighting a "cruel enemey" and "murderers". Israel launched the 22-day offensive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, killing more than 1300, a third of them children.

Military statement said it had reprimanded an officer behind the distribution of a booklet during the Gaza war that advised soldiers against showing any mercy to enemies.

In its statement, the military said the officer responsible for distributing the booklet was "severely reprimanded", but gave no further details.

Yesh Din said the booklet's message could have been interpreted by soldiers as a call to act outside the confines of the international laws of warfare.

"Rontzki views these deviations as being very serious, in particular due to the fact that they may cause divisions within the IDF (Israel Defence Forces)," the military statement claimed.

ısraeli offensive killed more than 1,300 Palestinians, a third of them children, and wounded at least 530, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip. Israel put its own deathtoll at 10 soldiers and three civilians.

Reuters
Last Mod: 29 Ocak 2009, 11:52
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