News / Middle East

Israel Says It Disciplined High-Ranking Officers in Gaza Offensive

Reprimand for shelling of U.N. compound would be first Israeli army admission of wrongdoing by high-level officers during incursion

Luis Ramirez

Israel's army says it has disciplined two high-ranking officers for letting their troops fire artillery shells at a U.N. compound in Gaza last year.  The army, however, denies a newspaper report that the officers were reprimanded for firing white phosphorus.

The report in the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz said Israel announced the punishment against the two officers in a report submitted to the United Nations last Friday. The Israeli report was in response to a U.N. document that accused Israel of committing war crimes during its 22-day offensive on militants in Gaza 13 months ago.

Israel's reprimand of the officers, named by the newspaper as Brigadier General Eyal Eisenberg and Colonel Ilan Malka, would be the first time the Israeli army has admitted to wrongdoing by high-level officers during the Gaza offensive.

Captain Barak Raz, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, tells VOA the men were disciplined - but not court-martialed - for letting soldiers fire artillery in the direction of a crowded U.N. compound.

"They are reprimanded for overstepping their authority in the use of artillery in a built up area. This reprimand will go with them for the rest of their military careers. It is something that will appear in their record," Raz said. 

The Haaretz newspaper on Monday reported the officers had been reprimanded for exceeding their authority in allowing the use of highly flammable white phosphorus shells during the offensive.  The army denied the report that the men had been disciplined for firing white phosphorus over the U.N. compound where hundreds of Palestinian civilians were taking cover.

U.N. officials accuse Israel of using white phosphorus improperly by firing it in densely populated areas of Gaza.  Israel says it used white phosphorus but claims it did so in accordance with international norms.

In the U.N. report, war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone accuses Israel of using disproportionate force and targeting civilians.  Israel has denied the charges. The report also accuses Hamas - the militant Islamist group that controls Gaza - of firing rockets at civilian communities in southern Israel. The report calls for war crimes proceedings against Israel unless it conducts an independent probe.

Israeli military authorities have launched investigations of more than 150 cases, some of which remain open.  The probes have resulted in one criminal conviction so far, in the case of two soldiers found guilty of stealing a Palestinian civilian's credit card.

Israel launched the offensive, known as Operation Cast Lead, in a bid to stop militants from launching rockets at Israel, which they had been doing for years.  About 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the offensive, as well as 13 Israelis.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

New Yellow Fever Research May Lead to Improved Treatment

Researchers identify features of disease that may lead to more effective treatment More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid