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Israel Military’s Top Lawyer Warns Troops Over ‘Improper Conduct’ in Gaza

Major-General Yifat Tomer-Yerushalmi, the military advocate general, issued the warning in a letter on Wednesday, as reported by the Haaretz newspaper, saying it was “difficult to exaggerate” the “severity” of the soldiers’ actions over nearly five months of the war.

The Israeli military’s top lawyer has issued an unprecedented warning to troops against “improper conduct” in Gaza which includes the unjustified use of force and looting among other “criminal” actions.

Major-General Yifat Tomer-Yerushalmi, the military advocate general, issued the warning in a letter on Wednesday, as reported by the Haaretz newspaper, saying it was “difficult to exaggerate” the “severity” of the soldiers’ actions over nearly five months of the war.

Their actions include “inappropriate statements that encourage unacceptable actions”, the “unjustified use of force”, “destruction of civilian property” and “looting”, according to Tomer-Yerushalmi, which were in “violation of orders” and had crossed the “criminal threshold”.

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Entitled Fighting and Victory According to the Law, the letter underlined that soldiers’ actions “deviate from orders and disciplinary boundaries” and did not meet the military’s values, ultimately causing “strategic damage” to Israel in the international arena.

Tomer-Yerushalmi signalled that several cases were being investigated, after which the Military Advocate General Corps would decide if criminal or disciplinary measures need to be taken.

“These acts and statements, on the part of individuals who do not represent the collective, are contrary to the [Israeli military] as a professional, moral, and dignified army, and they have no place in the [Israeli military],” she wrote.

Last month, a United Nations human rights official called for an end to the mistreatment of Palestinian detainees by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, who were subjected to weeks of imprisonment in secret locations, physical abuse and humiliation.

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Several videos shared by the Israeli army since the war began show hundreds of Palestinian men stripped to their underwear, sitting outdoors in the cold, sometimes blindfolded. In a few videos, women and children were also seen.

Soldiers have also filmed themselves mocking Palestinians and posting the videos on social media as they press on with their offensive in Gaza which has killed more than 29,000 Palestinians since the current conflict erupted on October 7.

Other troops have posted videos of themselves stealing from Palestinian homes in Gaza, with the Government Media Office in the enclave saying this month that at least $25m in cash, gold and valuables was looted in the first three months of the war.

SourceAljazeera

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