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19 Mar, 2009 23:18

Israeli soldiers claim attacks on Gaza civilians were permitted

Claims by Israeli soldiers involved in the recent war in Gaza have rocked the country’s Defense Ministry, after their reports of killing Palestinian civilians and destroying homes were published in local newspapers.

In response Defense Minister Ehud Barak has in general defended the military’s conduct during the conflict, but said the allegations would be investigated by the legal authorities, the Associated Press writes.

About 1,300 Palestinians, nearly 900 of them civilians, were killed in Israel’s three-week military offence on Gaza which started on 27th December 2008, according to UN and international human rights organisations.

Israel still disputes the figures.

Meanwhile, lawyer and human rights activist Michael Sfard claimed the acts of violence were part of the war strategy.

“In Israel’s eyes [Gaza’s] whole civilian population was an enemy and the more I learn about this conflict, the more it seems to me that it was a strategy on the part of the Israeli government and the Israeli army to put pressure on [Gaza’s] civilian population. The brilliant logic behind this strategy is that if you put enough pressure on the civilian population, they will, in turn, put pressure on Hamas”, he said.