Israeli army opens criminal investigation into revenge shelling of Gaza clinic

The Israeli military has opened a criminal investigation into the shelling of a Gaza clinic last summer in what appears to have been a revenge attack.

Last month The Electronic Intifada revealed a recording of senior officers instructing their unit to shell the clinic in Gaza City’s Shujaiya neighborhood to “honor” a soldier who had been killed by sniper fire a day earlier. The same officers later discussed their decision to shell the clinic at the same time as the soldier’s funeral in the military magazine Bayabasha.

After The Electronic Intifada translated the interview into English, the story was picked up by Israel’s Channel 10.

Israel’s Military Advocate General announced last week that a criminal investigation into the 23 July incident had been opened.

However, the army’s internal probes rarely result in accountability.

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem ceased cooperation with the army’s internal investigations after the 51-day assault on Gaza last summer. The group’s executive director stated that “Common sense has it that a body cannot investigate itself.” 

Last week the army announced that it had closed an investigation into the killing of four children on a Gaza beach last summer.

Nearly 200 “exceptional incidents” that took place during the Gaza onslaught last summer have been identified for a preliminary probe. To date, only seven have been referred for criminal investigation. An investigation into the looting of 2,420 shekels ($630) in cash from a house in Shujaiya has resulted in an indictment of three soldiers.




Don't we all know by past experience how fruitless and self serving it is for Israel to investigate its own war crimes? It's just a farce.


I'm struck by the cultural dimension of Col. Yeshurun's order to shell the clinic. He seems to have done so as a means of honoring a dead comrade. This is the kind of act we associate with pagan marauders of a bygone era. The atavistic nature of the deed is chilling. There's an element that exceeds mere revenge. Indeed, a ceremonial quality is foremost in the deed, suggesting a species of cultish devotion. Of course, the IDF investigators aren't going to see the atrocity in that light. But there's something in the calm, ritualistic way they carried out the crime, that indicates violence has become a way of binding the group together and even constructing the tenderest of memories. At which point, we're talking about clinical fascism.

Charlotte Silver

Charlotte Silver's picture

Charlotte Silver is an independent journalist and regular writer for The Electronic Intifada. She is based in Oakland, California and has reported from Palestine since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @CharESilver.