Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Hearsay: Findings of Military Police Investigation of Soldiers' Comments on Gaza War

From the Israel Defense Forces Spokesman, 30/2/09:

The Military Advocate General, Brig. Gen. Avichai Mendelblit, has decided to close the case in which the Criminal Investigation Department of the Military Police investigated statements made by soldiers at the Rabin Military Preparation Center in reference to the Gaza operation, after the investigation found that the crucial components of their descriptions were based on hearsay and not supported by facts.

...The investigation concluded that the stories told were purposely exaggerated and hyperbolic. For example, one story made the claim that a soldier was allegedly given orders to fire at an elderly woman. However, upon investigation, it was found that the soldier witnessed no such thing, and was only repeating a rumor that he had heard.

...A claim made by a different soldier who had supposedly been ordered to open fire at a woman and two children was also determined to be an incident that he had not witnessed.

...Brig. Gen. Mendelblit concluded the findings of the investigation: "It is unfortunate that none of the speakers at the conference was careful to be accurate in the depiction of his claims, and even more so that they chose to present various incidents of a severe nature, despite not personally witnessing and knowing much about them. It seems that it will be difficult to evaluate the damage done to the image and morals of the IDF and its soldiers."

...The juridical assistant of the Military Advocate General, Maj. Yehoshua Gurtler, said: "Soldiers and commanders should not fear reporting inappropriate events that they have witnessed, but when the reports are not precise and are exaggerated, nothing positive will come of it."

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