Tuesday, April 14, 2009

what moral compass guides the IDF

The slander heard 'round the world, originally published by Haaretz, that the IDF targetted civilians during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, was proven to be baseless. The soldiers who "testified" about the outrageous conduct of the IDF were later proven to have simply repeated hearsay, despite the characterizations of that testimony as first-hand reporting. In addition, the incidents about which the hearsay was raised were certainly not instances of the wanton killings of civilians.

So read about the very moral and compassionate acts of the IDF from true first hand accounts. StandWithUs is a wonderful organization - check out its website for lots of valuable information: www.standwithus.org.


JERUSALEM (April 6, 2009) – A new wesbsite created by Israeli soldiers to share their personal experiences of serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has had 20,000 views in just its first week. www.soldiersspeakout.com contains testimonials from soldiers which contrast sharply with recent reports of alleged IDF misconduct. Additional testimonies have been added since the March 29 launch.

StandWithUs, an international education organization, created the website in response to IDF members in its student programs who felt they had to speak out. This independent initiative is not coordinated with either the IDF or the Israeli Government.

Explains Roz Rothstein, international director of StandWithUs, “we created this website because a few isolated allegations from ‘anti-war’ Israeli soldiers are being used to defame the IDF. Yet the IDF has over 700,000 citizen soldiers and reservists who try to live up to it’s high ethical standards. The IDF impartially judges all alleged violations, and punishes offenders.”

The soldiers share experiences rarely told by the international media. Nina, a 25 year-old IDF medic who served in Gaza, recounts how she and other IDF soldiers treated wounded Palestinian men, women and children and arranged for them to be flown to Israeli hospitals for medical care. She explains that IDF medics are taught not to see nationality, but rather to treat the wounded with the severest injuries first, even if they are terrorists.

Amir, a military reserve paramedic in the Givati unit in Gaza, confirms Nina’s account. “I was present when injured Palestinians were flown out by IDF chopper to Israeli hospitals. Imagine the cost of that helicopter, but we believe that human life is of the highest value – their identity doesn’t matter.” Amir’s video relates how he helped a pregnant Palestinian woman in labor while he was searching for terrorists in Gaza.
The soldiers also describe the challenges of fighting terrorists who use inhumane tactics. Inon, a 25 year-old lieutenant in the Golani brigade, recalls that during the 2006 Lebanon war, he and his unit spotted an elderly woman shouting in pain. As they tried to help, they realized that Hezbollah had wired her with a suicide bomb belt and was using her as a human trap for the Israeli soldiers. "This is what we are up against."

“We had no shortage of volunteers,” remarks StandWithUs Israel Director Michael Dickson, “Many feel that the media has been skewed. Many soldiers feel a deep sense of injustice, including those who risked their own lives in Gaza to protect Palestinian civilians. These young soldiers are deeply moral and recognize that their service is vital to a country like Israel, which is constantly endangered by terrorists and hostile neighbors.

“All the soldiers we met illustrate the IDF’s moral code with first-hand experiences. The media may not always report on it, but by putting the soldiers’ stories on the Internet, they can speak to people directly. I anticipate that there will be many more soldiers speaking out,” predicts Dickson.

· The Soldiers Speak Out website is at www.soldiersspeakout.com
· It officially launched on Sunday, March 29, 2009.

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