Israeli Army Investigating Gaza Incidents Reported on by Breaking the Silence

Military does not say which ones it is looking into, but soldiers' testimonies in report include shooting at civilians, destroying property and looting cars.

Israeli reservist Ido Even Paz, center, guiding visitors at the "Breaking the Silence" exhibition at the Kulturhaus Helferei in Zurich, June 8, 2015.
Reuters

A Military Police investigation has been launched into incidents suspected to constitute rules of war violations during last summer's Gaza war. The incidents were featured in a Breaking the Silence report about the hostilities.

According to an article in the army weekly "Bamahane," Military Police has commenced initial investigations into eight eyewitness accounts, some of them just in the past few of weeks.

Army officials did not specify which of the incidents from the Breaking the Silence report issued in May are being investigated. However, testimonies published by the organization described a number of incidents that raise suspicions of deviations from international law.

Allegations include members of the armored corps deliberately targeting a civilian cyclist and a civilian driver, tanks crushing cars, looting, confirming the kill of an elderly man, and killing a mentally unstable woman.

The army declined to confirm to Haaretz if these allegations were being investigated, even though until now the military advocate general has tended to give up-to-date reports on new investigations to examine unusual events that occurred during Operation Protective Edge.

Military Police chief Erez Raban asserted in an interview with Bamahane that it is difficult to investigate the cases reported by Breaking the Silence because they do not include exact information about the date of the incidents and the units involved.

"The stories appear anonymously, and we are trying to identify which event is being discussed from the soldiers' statements," he explained.

One of the testimonies in the Breaking the Silence report describes a practice in which tank forces fired a "volley of honor" in memory of killed IDF soldiers. The army at first believed that the incident described in the report was the one linked to an armored battalion under the command of Lt. Col. Neria Yeshurun, who was interrogated this week by military police for the shelling of a medical clinic in the Gaza Strip.

This investigation was launched in the wake of an article quoting Yeshurun in the Bayabasha army magazine and a media report about the events that transpired, even though the incident was reported only just days after the incident occurred.

Haaretz has obtained information indicating that the incident described in the Breaking the Silence report is a separate incident from the one being investigated by Military Police. The incident apparently happened within the same armored division but in a different area of fighting and in the wake of the death of a different soldier.