IDF - AFP - November 19 2010
IDF soldiers surveying the Gaza Strip during Cast Lead in 2008. Photo by AFP
Text size

A website called "Israeli war criminals" displayed pictures, names and personal details of more than 200 veterans of Operation Cast Lead before the site was taken down yesterday.

A U.S.-based web-hosting service, Zymic, removed the site, which had been put up a few days ago by an anonymous source in Britain. Zymic cited breach of terms.

The site displayed more than 200 pictures, names, birth dates, ID numbers and addresses of soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces, ranging from Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi down to regular soldiers. The site called the soldiers "war criminals" for their actions in the three-week offensive, most of it in January 2009.

While some of the names, especially those of senior officers, could have been obtained from the media, the information on dozens of officers and soldiers from various brigades including the paratroopers raises the suspicion of a leak in the IDF.

The list includes names banned from publication such as the commander of a helicopter squadron. Many of the pictures of junior officers and regular soldiers show them in civilian clothes, probably taken from Facebook.

The site said "the information was received anonymously; presumably from a member of the Israeli Military." The people appearing on it "are the direct perpetrators, agents for the state of Israel that in Dec.-Jan. 2008-2009 attacked scores of people in the besieged Gaza."

These people "held positions of command at the time of the attack therefore not only did they perform on behalf of a murderous state mechanism but actively encouraged other people to do the same," the site said.

"They bear a distinctive personal responsibility .... All took an active and direct role in the offensive."

According to the site, "We are purposefully directing attention to individuals rather than the static structures through which they operate. We are aligning people with actions. It is to these persons and others, like them, to which we must object and bring our plaints to bear upon."

The site encouraged people to gather and spread similar information "as a form of resistance that can be effectively sustained for a long while."

"This project for one, has only just begun, do your bit so that this virtual list may come to bear upon the physical," it said.

IDF sources said the list and especially the possibility that it was based on information leaked from the army raised fears that the officers and soldiers were in physical danger. The IDF refused to say whether it has launched an investigation to find the sources of any leaks.

The IDF Spokesman's Office issued a statement saying the site falsely slandered some 200 officers and soldiers without any basis. MK Majali Wahabi (Kadima ) has even asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to investigate the site.

"Anyone who incites against IDF soldiers and calls them war criminals deserves to be punished," wrote Wahabi.