ZFA President: Fairfax wrong about IDF

Statement by Philip Chester, Zionist Federation of Australia President

Philip Chester, ZFA President

Ruth Pollard’s story on the alleged actions of the IDF in Monday’s Fairfax newspapers included a litany of allegations against unnamed Israeli soldiers, with no substantiation beyond the anonymous whistleblowers’ claims. Rather than providing sound investigative journalism, the article relied on unnamed sources, hearsay and propaganda in a flagrantly one-sided piece. In a perverse irony, Pollard has inverted the reality where Palestinian leadership indoctrinate their children to hate and to take up arms against Israelis, blatantly use children and innocent civilians as human shields and in doing so presents a fable where Israel’s curtailing of violence is tantamount to abuse of children.

Breaking the Silence purports to expose the misdeeds of Israeli soldiers. The IDF operates under a comprehensive code of ethics, which all soldiers understand and there is a clear and established process for dealing with incidents where the code has been breached. As with any army and as in any “hot” conflict, there are, from time to time, situations in which individual soldiers breach the code. Where this occurs, the soldiers face the discipline of the military authorities and often extremely severe consequences of their actions. Indeed, in April of this year, an IDF Lieutenant Colonel was dismissed from his position for striking a protester with the butt of his rifle. As Defence Minister Ehud Barak said at the time: “Completing missions and maintaining IDF norms and ethics are not mutually exclusive.”

Where minors perpetrate attacks by throwing stones or Molotov cocktails, the IDF is obliged to protect Israel’s citizens and stop them. Wherever such deterrence breaches behavioural and ethical codes, the soldier would be subject to punishments as determined by the established legal military process.

It is indeed a tragedy that Palestinian children are indoctrinated and trained in violence against Israel – a crime which must be laid squarely at the feet of their leaders.

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