“accidental” slaughter of 20 Palestinian civilians in Beit Hanoun, in
the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday and suggested the mistake was
technical, however investigations are still under way.
With some of the most advanced weaponry in the world and American-trained military, soldiers or their weapons missed their target by 500 meters, resulting in the death of civilians, not Qassam shell operators as the military had officially intended.
The Israeli government sent their regards to the Palestinian people and promised an immediate investigation managed by Major General Meir Kalifi, the same individual who investigated the deaths of nine Palestinians in June of this year.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Amir Peretz ordered the army to stop shelling in order to make way for the investigation, the results of which are to be reported by Chief of Staff Dan Halutz by Thursday evening.
To ease the suffering, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Peretz offered emergency humanitarian assistance and medical care for those injured in the attack and opened Rafah crossing for two days, according to Army Radio.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, along with some Israeli politicians blamed Palestinian resistance fighters for the deaths. Livni said, "Israel left Gaza in order to give the Palestinians an opportunity to control terrorism and develop their own lives. Unfortunately, this has not happened.”
In a joint news conference Wednesday, Livni said, "Israel is faced with constant attack by the Palestinian terror organizations, in the form of relentless firing of Qassam rockets at Israeli population centres.” These Qassam rockets have killed eight Israelis inside of Israel within five years.
Some Israeli Knesset members criticized Israel for the killings. Deputy Knesset Speaker Ahmed Tibi demanded that Defense Minister Amir Peretz resign for leading his men to commit war crimes and called for a parallel investigation independent of the military.
Meretz Chairman Yossi Beilin said Israel will pay a moral and diplomatic price not worth paying and demanded immediate negotiations on a ceasefire.
Sourced from Ha’aretz