Israeli Soldiers Confirm Suicide Orders Over Being Taken Hostage in Gaza War

According to the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv and the Israeli Channel 10 Tv station, a number of Israeli soldiers have confirmed that they were given strict orders not to be kidnapped, and to kill themselves rather than be taken hostage in the War on Gaza. See the report at arabs48 here.

This would strengthen Hamas’ claim that two kidnapping operations did take place, the first on the third day of the ground invasion and the second on January 5, and that in both cases, the Israeli air force struck and killed the kidnappers and the kidnapped – their own soldiers. See my previous post on this issue here. At the time I wrote that report, there was no news of the kidnappings. However, now Israeli soldiers and the media are speaking up.

According to an officer from Battalion 501 of the elite Golani Brigades, “No troop member from the 501 battalion was to be kidnapped at any cost, nor in any situation, even if this means blowing up a grenade in his possession, killing himself and those trying to kidnap him”.

According to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Aharonot, army instructions called for the prevention of kidnapping at all costs, including shooting at the area where the kidnapped soldier was being held.

According to one soldier, he received the following instruction from a Givati Brigades officer before the ground incursion into Gaza, “What is happening is not important, there will not be a kidnapped soldier, we will not have 2 Gilad Shalits at any price.”

Is this honestly an establishment and an order that cares about its soldiers? The government’s public adulation for Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped June 2006, really amounts to naught when we factor in these strict orders – for Israeli soldiers to commit suicide over being taken hostage – during the Gaza operation.

We come to realise that Israeli lives do not matter, contrary to government professions. The gesturing for Gilad Shalit is just that, gesturing. What the overarching goal of the government is is to prevent ‘political casualties’, those events that would make the government appear weak.

The Israeli establishment’s war ethos makes it so morally devoid that not only do over 1300 Palestinian lives, 86% of them civilians, not count, their own countrymen do not count either – they explicitly call for their deaths over suffering a ‘political casualty’.

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Ezzedeen Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, confirm having killed 49 Israeli soldiers during the War on Gaza, and estimate that throughout the war around 80 Israeli soldiers were killed. They confirm having injured hundreds. They also assert that they undertook two kidnapping operations of Israeli soldiers – the first was on the third day of the ground invasion and the second was on January 5. In both cases, the Israeli air force struck and killed the kidnappers and the kidnapped – their own soldiers.

See the full press release in Arabic here, a roughly translated version of the press release in English here, and an English news brief on the press release here.

However, there has been no mention of such Israeli soldier deaths, injuries or kidnappings from the Israeli media. Israel insists that only 10 soldiers were killed during the war and 4 of them from friendly fire. Either Hamas is outright lying or Israel isn’t telling the whole story. If the latter is true, it can be explained by the fact that the Israeli Military Censor strictly forbids news of soldiers deaths, rocket strikes, and troop movements from being published without it going through the news item first. This is so as to prevent aiding an enemy or harming the security of the state.

Zatzman in ‘The Return of the Israeli Military Censor’ writes of the Israeli Military Censor (IMC):

…the Israeli military censor has been and will continue to suppress publication of information it considers not appropriate to relay to the Israeli public at this time. Until now, the Israeli Military Censor had been trotted out, especially during the first Intifada, to keep the foreign press from reporting struggles waged or victories won by Palestinian military forces against regular Israeli military forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Read the full article here on the IMC’s role during the Lebanon War.

Should the Hamas reports on the kidnappings be true, we can conclude that the establishment almost certainly wants to avoid creating another Gilad Shalit and the heat it would come under as a result. But would that warrant taking out their own soldiers?

Further, the lack of coverage on Israeli soldier casualties can be explained partly by the fact that the Israeli public is very sensitive to news of that kind, the occurrence of which could all taste very sour for politicians in their scramble for votes in the upcoming elections. But does censoring soldier deaths really assist the enemy or harm the security of the State according to IMC directives? Very unlikely. Rather, publishing the truth on the number of casualties allows the Israeli public the opportunity to judge for themselves whether or not they want this war and future wars of this kind. Moreover, it is the right of the Israeli public to know fully the extent of their army’s wars – the real motives of going to war, the ‘nature’ of their ‘enemy’, the financial cost, and very definitely the human cost – on both sides, Palestinian and Israeli.

However, the establishment is not giving their public this right. It is censoring the truth. And it achieves this with the media’s complicity. This is so that the upper echelons of society, those with political and capital gain at stake, are the only recipients of truth, the broadcasters of untruths and convenient truths, and the decision makers and fate sealers for their people and those that they occupy.

VIA

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