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IDF soldiers ordered to shoot at Gaza rescuers, note says (Amira Hass, Haaretz)

March 22, 2009

Palestinians stand on the balcony of their damaged house in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip March 2, 2009. (REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

Palestinians stand on the balcony of their damaged house in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip March 2, 2009. (REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

The evidence continues to be unearthed — confirming again and again what Palestinians in Gaza, eyewitnesses to their own extremination over the last 61 years, have been saying. So this is not surprising, but it is shocking and deserves international condemnation. This policy of targeting medical rescue teams — absolutely illegal under the 4th Geneva Convention — is also nothing new in Israeli policy (remembering the Israeli siege on Lebanon in 2006).

The great Israeli journalist Amira Hass has been tackling the aftermath of the latest Gaza siege by the US-suppored and armed Israeli military. Here, she gathers incriminating information.

“GAZA STRIP – “Rules of Engagement: Open fire also upon rescue,” was handwritten in Hebrew on a sheet of paper found in one of the Palestinian homes the Israel Defense Forces took over during Operation Cast Lead. A reservist officer who did not take part in the Gaza offensive believes that the note is part of orders a low-level commander wrote before giving his soldiers their daily briefing.

One of the main themes in news reports during the Gaza operation, and which appears in many testimonies, is that IDF soldiers shot at Palestinian and Red Cross rescuers, making it impossible to evacuate the wounded and dead. As a result, an unknown number of Palestinians bled to death as others cowered in their homes for days without medical treatment, waiting to be rescued.

The bodies of the dead lay outside the homes or on roadsides for days, sometimes as long as two weeks. Haaretz has reported a number of such cases, some of them as they happened. The document found in the house provides written proof that IDF commanders ordered their troops to shoot at rescuers.”

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