The Chairman of the leftist Israeli Yahad Knesset faction Zahava Gal-On called Tuesday on the chief military prosecutor to investigate reports on an army revenge raid in which seven Palestinian policemen were slaughtered in the year 2002.

Gal-On said that testimonies of soldiers who participated in the raid indicate that it may be considered as a crime of war. 
 
The 2002 killing of 15 PA policemen was cold blooded
 
Israeli newspaper reveals information about an Israeli commando unit which killed 15 Palestinian police officers in 2002 in revenge to the killing of six Israeli soldiers by two Palestinians.
 
Ma’ariv newspaper reported that troops from the Ya’el elite Unit was responsible for the killing of the policemen.
 
According to Ma’ariv two armed Palestinian men ambushed the military checkpoint of Ein Arik near the West bank city of Ramallah, on February 19, 2002 and killed six Israeli soldiers operating there.
 
Few hours following this attack, Ma’ariv reports, ‘The Israeli army launched a ‘revenge’ operation in which a number of Palestinian police men were killed at PA checkpoints in the West Bank.’
 
The report said that army assigned the task to ‘a special revenge unit and the result was 15 dead Palestinian policemen.’
 
The Israeli army spokesperson then commented that ‘those policemen were involved in terror acts,’ Ma’ariv said, adding that the army did not open this issue for discussion on the ethical and legal levels.
 
The newspaper brought to attention that such a ‘revenge’ operation was the first since a long time when ‘unit 101’ lead by the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who carried out a similar operation in the West Bank city of Qalqilia and Qebia village.
 
Ma’ariv also said that before the ambush, Israeli soldiers were instructed to avoid any clash with Palestinian policemen, adding that considering the Palestinian Policemen as ‘terrorists never won consensus among Israeli soldiers.’
 
However, adds Ma’ariv, this prompt Israeli response to the ambush determined the ‘new Israeli way’ in dealing with the Palestinian police.
 
Ma’ariv quoted a top Israeli military official defending the killing of the policemen as saying, ‘During that period of time, Palestinian armed attacks increased and the army was in chaos.  There were no clear targets to respond to.’
 
‘Assassinations were not as today’s level, special units were not functional, so the army felt neutralized,’ the official said adding that ‘we regarded the Palestinian Authority as a partner for terrorism; therefore it was a legitimate target for us.’
 
‘Therefore, after Ein Arik attack forced the army to respond, however the assassinations take several hours to plan and carry out, while the checkpoints were sitting ducks,’ the official stated.
 
One of the soldiers in the Ya’el elite unit said ‘we felt frustrated because the army is limiting our activities.’
 
The unit was on a regular patrol until they were radioed about the Ein Arik ambush, the unit’s task changed, Ma’ariv said.
 
An officer in the unit said, ‘We went back to our military base, then our commander came from the leadership office with instructions.’
 
‘Six of our soldiers were killed at the checkpoint and we will carry out a revenge counter attack,’ the commander told his unit members.
 
‘We will kill the policemen at Palestinian checkpoints to revenge to our six dead comrades’ the commander added.
 
The officer then said the feeling was ‘Eye for an Eye’ at that moment, Ma’ariv adds, so there was no need to invest effort to persuade any of us, we were very enthusiastic.
 
‘When we were told that we were going for a revenge attack, we knew this involves killing people,’ Ma’ariv quotes the officer saying.
 
Responding to a question on whether soldiers at other checkpoints were informed, the officer said, ‘we were told that this is a revenge attack, life for a life, this include Palestinian forces at three or four checkpoints not more.’
 
He added, ‘everybody liked the idea, we are going to kill some people, we were glad for that.
 
The officer said ‘Our commander was talking about the checkpoint that Palestinian control who allowed the armed men who killed our comrades to pass.’
 
‘So, our task was to get to them and kill them,’ adding that ‘we took position waiting for the Palestinian Policemen to arrive to the scene, we assumed they were sleeping in the nearby building, but we waited until around 5 am,’ the soldier said.
 
He added, ‘The policemen left the building at 5 am, and had some coffee, they were between 7 to 8 policemen, however, only two of them were in uniform carrying weapons, where the rest were unarmed civilians.’
 
‘We looked at them; we did not even think about it, there is our target about to be killed,’ he said, ‘at the moment we realized that we are about to kill them we did not see them as human beings’ adds the soldier.
 
He soldier said, ‘I opened fire at one of the policemen, maybe the others were shooting the five others at the same time, I shot a full magazine at him, I blew up his legs, them I confirmed the killing.’
 
‘I turned him over, he looked like a man in his 50s, fat with a big moustache and his body was full of holes,’ added the soldier who said that this was his first time to kill somebody or see a dead man, so ‘it was a pleasure.’
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