Rabbi told Israeli troops 'to show no mercy' in Gaza

Israel's chief military chaplain urged soldiers in a booklet to soldiers in the Gaza offensive to show no mercy in the Strip, an Israeli human rights group said.

Rabbi told Israeli troops 'to show no mercy' in Gaza

Israel's chief military chaplain urged soldiers in a booklet to soldiers in the Gaza offensive to show no mercy in the Strip, an Israeli human rights group said on Monday.

The group, Yesh Din, which says it is dedicated to defending human rights in territory occupied by Israel, called on Defence Minister Ehud Barak to dismiss the chief chaplain, Rabbi Avichai Rontzki, who holds the rank of brigadier general., reported Reuters.

It said a pamphlet distributed to soldiers taking part in Operation Cast Lead stressed that the troops should show no mercy to their enemies, and that the pamphlet borders "on incitement and racism against the Palestinian people."

A booklet handed out by Rontzki during the offensive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip quotes an Israeli rabbi saying that showing mercy towards a "cruel enemy" was "terribly immoral" and advising soldiers they were fighting "murderers".

International calls to investigate Israel over war crimes during its 22-day offensive against Gaza, but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday to promise military personnel state protection from foreign prosecution.

Israel faced global criticism over its assaults in densely populated areas of Gaza, where medical officials put the Palestinian death toll as more than 1,300, a third of them children.

Ten Israeli soldiers and three civilians were killed during the campaign Israel launched against Gaza.

"The Palestinians claim they deserve a state here, when in reality there was never a Palestinian or Arab state within the borders of our country," the pamphlet quoted Aviner as saying.

The rights group said the pamphlet contains "degrading and belittling messages that border on incitement and racism against the Palestinian people. These messages can be interpreted as a call to act outside of the confines of international laws of war."

An Israeli spokesman had no immediate comment on the booklet, written by Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, a main figure in the Jewish settler movement in the occupied West Bank. A photo of its title page, appeared in Israel's left-leaning Haaretz newspaper on Monday.

Agencies
Last Mod: 27 Ocak 2009, 11:40
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