British politicians call for accountability for Israeli actions in Gaza in response to testimonies from Israeli soldiers

Posted by Caabu on 07 May 2015

British politicians call for accountability for Israeli actions in Gaza in response to testimonies from Israeli soldiers

British politicians have responded to the damning testimonies from Israeli soldiers in the assault on Gaza in July-August 2014. Israeli human rights organisation, Breaking the Silence, released the testimonies of 60 Israeli soldiers involved in last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, in their report, This is how we fought in Gaza.

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, a former Foreign Office Minister and Conservative Party Chairman in David Cameron’s Government, who resigned over the Government’s position on Gaza in August 2014 said:

“The international community must not ignore these powerful and compelling testimonies coming from Israeli soldiers who were at the heart of the Gaza attacks.  The systematic nature of how Israeli tanks, planes, bulldozers and mortars flattened thousands of homes is laid bare. It is vital that there is a full independent  inquiry with full access to Gaza. These events must never be repeated.“

Former UK cabinet Minister, Middle East Minister and Labour MP, and Caabu patron Peter Hain said:

“These attacks by Israeli armed forces in Gaza are war crimes for which they must be made accountable.  The International community cannot continue to wring its hands and stand back from pursuing an end to the conflict.”

Lord Steel, former leader of the Liberal Party and Caabu patron said:

“I visited Gaza in 2010 after 2009’s Operation Cast Lead, and saw the devastating impact this assault had upon the infrastructure and livelihoods of Gaza.  So much of what is outlined in this report, is a repeat of that operation. It is so chilling to see such illegal actions being replicated again and again in Gaza.  Without accountability, I fear this will be repeated time and time again.”

Caabu’s chair and former Labour MP Andy Love said:

“Breaking the Silence’s report is a terrifying reminder of the need for the British Government and the rest of the international community to make sure that Israel is held to account for its actions in Gaza last summer, but also the countless other times where it has acted with impunity. Such crimes should never have been allowed to happen in the first place, but with the situation in Gaza continuing to deteriorate, especially with the humanitarian crisis being so acute, they must not be allowed to happen again.”

Indiscriminate firing, a “shoot to kill” policy, lenient and unclear open fire regulations and massive destruction of civilian infrastructure, are just some examples in the witness statements from Israeli soldiers. According to Breaking the Silence, ”the more disturbing picture that arises from these testimonies reflects systematic policies that were dictated to IDF forces of all ranks and in all zones.”

The testimonies cast significant doubt on the legality of Israel’s actions in Gaza with allegations that troops were ordered to see everything as a “threat”, and that there were “no rules of engagement.” One soldier tells Breaking the Silence, "If you shoot someone in Gaza, it's cool, no big deal."

1)    For more information or interviews contact Chris Doyle, on + 44207 832 1321 or +447968 040281.

2)    World not delivering on Gaza reconstruction http://www.caabu.org/news/news/press-release-world-not-delivering-gaza-reconstruction