In the midst of the war on the heavily-populated Gaza Strip, the chief military chaplain gave soldiers a booklet containing a rabbinical edict against showing mercy to the enemy, the Yesh Din rights group revealed on Monday, January 26.
"When you show mercy to a cruel enemy you are being cruel to pure and honest soldiers," the pamphlet ultra-nationalist Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, who heads the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva in Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem).
"These are not games at the amusement park where sportsmanship teaches one to make concessions."
The booklet was circulated among soldiers fighting in Gaza by chief military rabbi Avichai Rontzki, who holds the rank of brigadier general.
It quotes Aviner as saying that showing mercy towards the enemy was "terribly immoral" and advising soldiers they were fighting "murderers".
The ultra-nationalist rabbi is the spiritual leader of Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank and he opposes any compromise with Palestinians.
Israeli troops killed more than 1,350 Palestinians, including 473 children, and injured 5,450 in 22 days of attacks.
The offensive also wrecked havoc on Gaza’s infrastructure, leaving thousands of homes, government buildings, schools, hospitals and mosques in ruins.
Amnesty International has accused Israel of "unlawful attacks," while Human Rights Watch accused it of "indiscriminate" attacks that were against the rules of law.
Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert, who worked in Gaza’s main Shifa hospital during the first weeks of the Israeli blitz, accused Israel of using the Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) that shreds the victims’ bodies in pieces.
A coalition of Israeli human rights groups pressed for an international investigation into war crimes in Gaza.
Under international pressures, Israel admitted Saturday using white phosphorous, a chemical that burns away human flesh to the bone, in shelling the overcrowded, impoverished strip.
Haaretz newspaper also reported on Monday that far right-wing groups were allowed to distribute pamphlets with racist messages on military bases.
"(We tell) soldiers of Israel to spare your lives and the lives of your friends and not to show concern for a population that surrounds us and harms us," read a flyer distributed by the right-wing group "The Pupils of Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg".
"As for the population, it is not innocent…We call on you to ignore any strange doctrines and orders that confuse the logical way of fighting the enemy."
Pamphlets also asked the Israeli troops not to heed calls for sparing the lives of the civilian population.
"Our enemies took advantage of the broad and merciful Israeli heart" rabbi Yuval Feund said in another pamphlet obtained by Breaking the Silence, a group of Israeli refuseniks.
"We will show no mercy on the cruel."
Yesh Din, the Israeli rights group, called on Defense Minister Ehud Barak to dismiss Rabbi Rontzki.
"The content of these notebooks includes political messages and degrading and belittling messages that border on incitement and racism against the Palestinian people," it said.
"Other messages can be interpreted as a call to act outside of the confines of international laws of war."
(IslamOnline.net and Agencies)