Naftali Bennet, Israel’s minister of education was the first public official to come out in support of Elor Azaria, the Israeli soldier who executed Abdel Fatah Alsharif as he lay wounded in Hebron. Bennet was critical of the government of which he is a member for not standing up for the soldier. I was listening to the interview with Bennet on Israeli television where he made the argument that the government and the press judged the soldier harshly and prematurely. Then he said something I never thought I’d hear.
“Maybe the soldier did make a mistake; you know I also made a mistake. During Grapes of Wrath, Operation Grapes of Wrath I was apparently mistaken and a very difficult thing happened.” A very difficult thing happened. Interesting choice of words and interesting timing: It is exactly twenty-years since the massacre in Qana village in Southern Lebanon, a massacre for which Bennet was responsible. He then went on to explain that, “in my case, I received the full backing of the commanding general and the army chief of staff.” In fact he was backed by the entire chain of command going all the way up to the Prime Minister (and Nobel laureate), Shimon Peres.
Bennet was talking about the shelling by Israeli forces of the UN compound in the southern Lebanese village of Qana. It took place on April 18, 1996 when hundreds of local Lebanese were seeking shelter at the compound. Of the 800 Lebanese civilians who had taken refuge in the compound, a reported 106 were killed and 116 were injured. The attack occurred amid fighting between the Israeli army and Hezbollah during operation “Grapes of Wrath.” There was evidence that an Israeli drone was spying on the compound before the shelling, making the argument that this may have been an error, unlikely at best. Clearly all levels of the IDF command knew that the compound was there and that it served as shelter for refugees escaping the fighting. The building was clearly marked as a UN compound and was even marked on the Israeli maps. Bennet who was commander of an Israeli army reconnaissance unit called for massive artillery shelling of the site.
Graves just outside the UN base at Qana cb791
The BBC described the massacre as: “one of the deadliest single events of the whole Arab-Israeli conflict.” Robert Fisk who reported from the site wrote, “Not since Sabra and Chatila had I seen the innocent slaughtered like this.”
Fisk’s descriptions of what he saw are not for the weak at heart but must be read and remembered. Over and over we hear the phrase “never again,” yet Israel commits one heinous massacre after another and gets away with it, usually absolved by the US. In this case the main culprit is known, he admits his responsibility and yet not only did he go unpunished, he is unrepentant and is now in charge of the Israeli ministry of education. How ironic. Again Fisk’s description, “The Lebanese refugee women and children and men lay in heaps, their hands or arms or legs missing, beheaded or disemboweled. There were well over a hundred of them […] The Israeli shells had scythed through them as they lay in the United Nations shelter, believing that they were safe under the world’s protection. Like the Muslims of Srebrenica, the Muslims of Qana were wrong.” And Fisk continues, “Now the Israelis are stained again by the bloodbath at Qana, the scruffy little Lebanese hill town where the Lebanese believe Jesus turned water into wine.”
SHIMON PERES – OBITUARY OF A PEACE POLITICIAN
34 YEARS AGO TODAY – THE SABRA AND SHATILA MASSACRE ISRAEL FORCES MURDER 3500 PALESTINIANS AND LEBANESE INCLUDING WOMEN AND CHILDREN
PALESTINIAN MINORS TORTURED, ABUSED IN ISRAEL PRISONS
ISRAELI RABBI CALLS FOR POISONING OF PALESTINIAN WATER SUPPLY
Naftali Bennet was quoted as saying that he had killed many Arabs in his time and feels no remorse, and in his view “a soldier in the battlefield can not commit murder.” In a speech in the Knesset Bennet said he killed many terrorists during his military service and he wishes he had killed more. Bennet never saw an Arab he did not consider to be a terrorist, and therefore fair game. “Arabs are murdering Jews every day,” he said as he defended the execution in Hebron. An important piece of information that is completely ignored is that another soldier shot Abdel Fatah first, even though he was unarmed and his hands were raised, and only later did Elor Azaria execute him. Bennet called the scene as a “battle ground” and the shooting perfectly legitimate because according to him “Vicious Palestinian terrorists are coming out every day to kill Jews.”
The result of Bennet’s call for the shelling in Qana, according to Fisk, was “The blood of all the refugees ran quite literally in streams from the shell-smashed UN compound […] in which the Shiite Muslims from the hill villages of southern Lebanon – who had heeded Israel’s order to leave their homes – had pathetically sought shelter.” Once the news of the shelling had got out, relatives started arriving from other parts of Lebanon to look for loved ones. Their grief and anger were forceful, “we had suddenly become not UN troops and journalists but Westerners, Israel’s allies” Fisk writes, and he continues, “one bearded man with fierce eyes stared at us, his face dark with fury: […] “I would like to be made into a bomb and blow myself up amid the Israelis” the man cried.
The story of the Qana massacre was brought up during the Israeli elections of 2015, because Bennet was the head of one of the parties running. Claims were made that the “incident” was evidence that he had “poor judgment.” Today, twenty years and countless massacres later a man who knowingly brought about the gruesome killing of countless innocents is in charge of educating Israeli children and is defending the execution of a young Palestinian. And yet, the one man that everyone is calling a terrorist is one who committed no act violence at all: the young Abdel Fatah Alsharif, may he rest in peace.
Thank you for an excellent and informative article Mr Peled! Have shared!
I do hope the day will come when we shall see him before the ICC at the Hague. No Freedom without Justice,…I am sorry about JVP. This is the second time I think. They will be notified by myself that we will be working totally Independent from them.. Their is an element In that org. that is their just to sew discord and again divide.. BDS will have none of that…MY best, Frank Pennestri Administrator of all BDS pages FB. Latest uncovering the truth…Be well My Friend.
Hi Miko. After bookmarking your lecture that’s on you tube – An honest Jew etc – I finally got around to watching it yesterday. It ought to be mandatory viewing at every school in the Western world because it debunks so many appalling myths about the ‘innocence’ of Zionist Israel. During question time a question was asked about why it took you so long to wake up to the extent of atrocities committed by the IDF on a daily basis when you served in the same army and surely would have witnessed some yourself. This question occurred to me as well while you were speaking and unfortunately you didn’t answer it because it was bracketed with three other questions. I’m still curious. My question is born of curiosity. My father, you see, was conscripted into the Wermacht when he turned 17 and his first gig was going to be Stalingrad. He was lucky, he was wounded near Kharkov and eventually deserted in 1944 in Italy. He didn’t talk much about it but I know he offered a Russian prisoner chocolate because the man was cold and hungry. I also know that he found it difficult to reconcile the atrocities he witnessed – on both sides – with his sense of right and wrong. On your Wikipedia page it mentions that you transferred to the Medical corps, that you buried your service medal in the sand.I’d love to hear more from you about this.Regards
Would you maybe entertain the idea of going up to Standing Rock North Dakota and talking on camera with some of the Water Protectors about their commonalities with the Palestinian people? And putting it on Youtube? The U.S. and Israel have the same penchant for reliving their respective Nakbas.. Their shared delusion of Manifest Destiny gives them dominion “uber alis”. It’s a big buffet, all they can eat. Be it land, be it peoples, oil, air or be it water. The ungodly appetites of two ungodly nations devour to the same rhapsody… Would you go up and see what you can do about getting the authorities to change their tune by pointing out the similarities? You have the stature. .
Maybe it’s not in the cards, but would you enter the national conversation in whatever way you see fit, please. Your voice would be a good one to hear on this issue however you choose to address it.
Thank you for you.
Reblogged this on Searching For The Truth and commented:
Mi abuelita decía “cría cuervos y te sacaran los ojos” tristemente vemos que los imperios occidentales han criado un cuervo (sionismo) muy poderoso y cruel, el cual los traicionara y hará caer horriblemente. La destrucción del imperio anglo-americano no será por los musulmanes o rusos, será por la apuñalada en la espalda de los zionistas.