Many of you have either already seen or heard of a list of 200 IDF officers who served in Operation Cast Lead. It is being circulated samizdat/Wikileaks-style around the internet as a starting point for criminal investigations of possible war crimes charges against those who served in the massacre. It appears the list was prepared by an Israeli Jew who served/s in the army. He or she explains his or her actions as follows:
Underlining the following people is an act of retribution and affront. They are the direct perpetrators, agents for the state of Israel that in Dec.- Jan. 2008- 2009 attacked scores of people in the besieged Gaza. The people listed here held positions of command at the time of the attack therefore not only did they perform on behalf of a murderous state mechanism but actively encouraged other people to do the same. They bear a distinctive personal responsibility. They range from low-level field commanders to the highest echelons of the Israeli army. All took an active and direct role in the offensive.
In underlining them we are purposefully directing attention to individuals rather than the static structures through which they operate. We are aligning people with actions. It is to these persons and others, like them, to which we must object and bring our plaints to bear upon [sic].
This information was pirated. We encourage people to seek out other such similar information, it is readily available in the public sphere and inside public officials’ locked cabinets. This is a form of resistance that can be effectively sustained for a long while.
This project for one, has only just begun, do your bit so that this virtual list may come to bear upon the physical.
I am only reluctantly and with a caveat linking to this document mostly because so many others already have and to withhold a link here seems almost pointless. While the list contains a lot of information, and likely very useful information, it has not been vetted carefully, and we’re not sure it all means what it claims. Maybe yes, maybe no. Here are some of the potential concerns:
1. can we prove all of these individuals did indeed serve in Cast Lead?
2. what tactical or strategic role did they play (that information is not provided)?
3. where did they serve in Gaza?
4. are we sure that all images match up with all names?
5. why are sergeants included? in my opinion a sergeant should not be included unless he or she participated in a specific act that should be investigated.
My final concern is that there are those on the other side who wait for us to make a mistake. That’s why it’s important that we know what we’re talking about before we act. And in this case, we don’t know enough yet. This list could be a fabrication or partial fabrication. Or it could be the real thing. If the latter, it should only be the beginning of a process of exploration and exposure.
Personally, whoever put together this list needs a lot more expertise from soldiers who actually served to pinpoint the information. As much as possible, the role officers played in the fighting needs to be specified. Given that they’re taking a relatively scatttershot approach to dragging everyone through the mud, I’m not sure they’ll get the kind of cooperation they’re calling for.
The list is just becoming widely known in Israel and it’s safe to say it’s causing great disquiet. There are even those on the left in Israel who are uncomfortable with this notion (not that this is a reason not to do it). Combat veterans anti-Occupation groups like Combatants for Peace and Breaking the Silence won’t touch it since they seek to build bridges to IDF veterans and not threaten them with war crimes convictions.
Traditionally, the private contact information, home addresses, ID numbers of senior officers are closely guarded secrets not just for personal privacy reasons but for security reasons. This leak marks a serious break with such tradition. And as an Israeli friend of mind wrote to me, it puts the leaker into considerable jeopardy. He or she has become the Bradley Manning of Israel.