The Israel Defense Forces is still searching for the soldiers who scrawled "Death to Arabs" inscriptions on walls in Gaza's Zeituon neighborhood. New images released by several news agencies have revealed more details on the unit's identity.
Alongside the operational activities, army commanders stressed to their soldiers how important it was to protect the Palestinian property, and instructed them to refrain from unnecessarily damaging civilian infrastructures.
But it turns out there were some Givati Brigade troops who decided to ignore the rules and leave a "souvenir" to the house's residents. They also made sure to add the name of their unit and the date the inscription was scrawled on the wall – three days after the ground offensive was launched.
Writing on the wall (Photo: AP)
Senior IDF commanders said at the end of Operation Cast Lead that they had managed to prevent such embarrassing incident in real time, particularly in light of the fact that they were in the area following the soldiers.
Colonel Yigal Slovik, commander of the Armored Corps 401st Brigade, told Ynet after the operation that he had spotted one of this soldiers leave an inscription with his squadron's name on the wall of a building and had ordered him to remove it immediately. Other commanders told of similar incidents.
"It's a shame that isolated incident stain the army," a military source told Ynet. "In general, the soldiers who took part in the operation understood very well what was right and what was wrong, and fully executed the instructions.
"Many of them even kept the houses they stayed in tidy, aided the Palestinian population and even helped animals that were left tied and hungry," the source added.
He said that such incidents could not be prevented completely, but that the army must continue to stress their severity to the soldiers and use harsh measures when the orders are violated.
IDF officials noted that despite these incidents, Palestinians and international organizations have not complained of any unusual unethical behavior on the part of the Israeli troops. "This is an honorable accomplishment for the IDF," the military source concluded.
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said in response, "The IDF views any incidents of damaging property with severity, and this contradicts the orders received by the soldiers from their commanders on the eve of the operation."