Israel Murders POWs
By David Paul
Note: This is taken from an article by Gabby Bron (a journalist of pronounced right-wing views) that appeared in the Israeli paper Yediot Ahronot of August 17, 1995. The article was translated by Professor Israel Shahak and published in his journal From the Hebrew Press of October 1995. The notes are by Israel Shahak.
Gabby Bron reports what he saw on 8 June 1967 while on reserve service at the airport in El-Arish in the Sinai. That morning he witnessed Egyptian POWs being executed after a "court martial." It was explained to them that those killed were Palestinian "Fedayin" fighters from Gaza who had disguised themselves as soldiers in order to escape from the Israeli forces. He reports that about 150 POWs were being held in an open building serving as a cover for airplanes. They were densely crowed and sitting on the ground with their hands on the back of their necks.
Next to the prison compound and guarded by military police two uniformed Israeli soldiers sat at a table. Every few minutes the military police took one of the POWs from the prison compound and escorted him to the table. After a short conversation which he was unable to hear the POW was escorted to a place behind the building.
Bron followed to investigate. The POW was given a shovel and ordered to dig a pit. When he had finished the Israeli soldier had him throw out the shovel and then he shot the POW, a la Nazis. As other POWs arrived they were ordered into the pit then shot dead. Bron said he watched about 10 such murders before he was chased away by Colonel Eshel the commander of the communication battalion of the brigade.
The reserve soldiers who heard about the slaughter were horrified. [Shahak notes-- "The older reserve soldiers of the Israeli army are apt to be shocked by crimes callously committed by the younger (18-21) draft soldiers.]
Later an officer explained that the Military Intelligence men were identifying "Fedayin" fighters of the Gaza Strip who had murdered Jews and disguised themselves. "At the time of the continuing war, it seemed a reasonable explanation." [Shahak notes: I don't know why this outrageous murder seemed "reasonable" to Bron and his comrades at the time. I strongly suspect that an order was given "to weed out" Palestinians serving in the Egyptian army and to murder them after establishing their Palestinian identity through their dialect-- the real purpose of the short conversation described above.]
As introduction to a set of articles on the reaction of the Israeli press to the numerous stories of such atrocities Professor Shahak has this to say:
" In my view, in the three wars in which POWs and civilians have been routinely murdered by the Israeli army-- the 1947-1949 War, the Suez War and the Six Days War-- the worse massacres by far were those that occurred in the Six Days War and its aftermath. However, since, the revelation of these massacres would affect the reputation of Rabin (the Chief of Staff at the time) and the future of the U.S.-sponsored peace process, these atrocities are unlikely to be revealed for some time. For the latter reason, it is futile to expect that Mubarak or Arafat will take the lead in such revelations.
"The reason why more were murdered in the Six Days War than in the 1947-1949 War is that Israeli Jews tend to commit more massacres when they are sure of victory. This is why Israeli soldiers committed so few murders in the October 1973 War when Israel's partial victory seemed far from certain. In other words, murders are not carried out because of "cruel necessity" but, on the contrary, when there is no necessity to murder."