Inside Israel and the Palestinian Territories
Its been two months since Israel ended its 22-day offensive in Gaza – two months during which Israel has been weighing up the costs and the benefits of what was achieved in the fierce fighting.
Much of the condemnation of the offensive has been attributed in Israel to the standard leftist, anti-Israeli, anti-semitic rabble-rousing from the usual quarters along with a failure elsewhere in the world to understand the gravity of the rocket fire from Gaza on southern Israel which Israelis feel forced the army into action.
Within that narrow prism – Israel has, in large part, dismissed the criticism and a large tranche of public opinion is still supportive of the war despite questions about the achievements of a campaign which left Hamas in power, rockets still falling on southern Israel and Sgt Gilad Shalit still a captive somewhere in Gaza, 1,000 days after he was captured in 2006.
But internal criticism, from the very heart of Israel’s most venerated institution, is another matter entirely.
The soldiers involved in the conversations are all graduates of the ‘Yitzhak Rabin pre-military program’ – which since 1998 has prepared participants for leading roles in the army.
Their words have cast Operation Cast Lead in a sombre new light.
Here is our video report on the story with the script (including translations) available here
(Photo: Israeli soldiers cross the Gaza border back to Israel early morning January 18, 2009 after a combat mission in Gaza. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis (ISRAEL)