Following war crimes in Lebanon
Revolt inside Israel Defense Forces
Published Mar 11, 2007 10:50 PM
Almost 100 fighters of the Israel Defense Forces’ Battalion 51 of the
Golani Brigade walked off the Tze’elim training base in southern Israel
on March 1. The action has been described as one of the biggest revolts in IDF
history. Eight soldiers from the battalion were killed by Hezbollah resistance
fighters in Bint Jbeil, a small village in southern Lebanon, during the Israeli
invasion in July 2006.
Golani soldiers have a long history of revolt. Smaller walkouts have occurred
in the past. The IDF’s criminal history in occupied Palestine, Lebanon
and other countries can only contribute to rebellion by rank-and-file
This latest rebellion was led by young soldiers who were fed up with the harsh
treatment they have endured at the hands of battalion commander Lt. Col. David
Zini. Some of the more experienced soldiers abstained out of fear that the
short time left before their discharge would be extended by imprisonment on
charges of mutiny. Roadblocks placed by Brigade Commander Col. Tamir Yidai
forced the soldiers to return to base.
The primary complaint launched against Lt. Col. Zini was his order denying
soldiers the right to meet with psychologists and mental health officers to
discuss psychological stresses stemming from their participation in the siege
of Bint Jbeil. After the soldiers were forced to turn back, an anonymous
high-ranking officer admitted that the complaints were legitimate, and that
requests for medical care had been mishandled.
The IDF failed to take the town of Bint Jbeil, and withdrew after several days
of bombing civilian targets such as houses and hospitals combined with a large
The residents of Bint Jbeil heroically defended themselves against the civilian
atrocities perpetuated by the IDF. Dr. Fuoad Tahar of Bint Jbeil Hospital
described intense Israeli attacks that dropped up to 350 bombs on the town in a
single half hour.
Given the severity of the suffering inflicted on Bint Jbeil civilians, it is
not surprising that IDF soldiers returning from that battle would require
professional psychological help. Problems such as depression and post-traumatic
stress disorder are typical reactions to the brutal realities of war and
Denying soldiers access to mental-health workers compounds the dehumanization
IDF troops experience as a result of their participation in Israel’s
genocidal military campaigns.
Zionist leaders inside Israel cannot be pleased to learn that the only thing
that prevented the rebellion from spreading throughout the entire battalion was
the older soldiers’ fear of imprisonment. Israel already experienced
defeat at the hands of the Lebanese people’s resistance led by Hezbollah.
This recent display of a lack of loyalty to the IDF and its mission may signify
a deeper division inside the Israeli army between superior officers and the
subordinate troops they regularly sacrifice in Israel’s 59-year old
perpetual war of occupation.
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