Tag Archives: forces

Israeli forces shot their own civilians, kibbutz survivor says

Yasmin Porat: her interview casts doubt on everything we’ve been told about the Hamas raids.

Israeli claims about Hamas atrocities in the treatment of hostages and other Israeli civilians during the raids that started the current Israel/Gaza conflict may have been disproved decisively by an interview with a survivor.

Worse still – for the Israelis, Yasmin Porat said Israeli civilians were “undoubtedly” killed by their own security forces when they arrived at the scene.

The interview has appeared on ‘X’ (formerly Twitter) – and has been translated by the Electronic Intifada:

Here it is, with a bit of preamble to provide context:

An Israeli woman who survived the Hamas assault on settlements near the Gaza boundary on 7 October says Israeli civilians were “undoubtedly” killed by their own security forces.

It happened when Israeli forces engaged in fierce gun battles with Palestinian fighters in Kibbutz Be’eri and fired indiscriminately at both the fighters and their Israeli prisoners.

“They eliminated everyone, including the hostages,” she told Israeli radio. “There was very, very heavy crossfire” and even tank shelling.

The woman, 44-year-old mother of three Yasmin Porat, said that prior to that, she and other civilians had been held by the Palestinians for several hours and treated “humanely.” She had fled the nearby “Nova” rave.

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A recording of her interview, from the radio program Haboker Hazeh (“This Morning”) hosted by Aryeh Golan on state broadcaster Kan, has been circulating on social media.

Yasmin Porat: For an hour they were banging – about 10 terrorists on the reinforced safe room. There were screams in Arabic and it was a very tense hour. And we felt great fear that’s indescribable. After an hour they managed to break in and they removed the four of us to a nearby house where there were already eight other additional hostages. We joined those eight and we were about 12 hostages with 40 terrorists that were guarding us. I’m keeping the story short.

Aryeh Golan: Did they abuse you?

Yasmin Porat: They did not abuse us. They treated us very humanely, meaning …

Aryeh Golan: Humanely? Really?

Yasmin Porat: Yes, by that I mean they guard us. They give us something to drink here and there. When they see we are nervous, they calm us down. It was very frightening but no one treated us violently. Luckily nothing happened to me like what I heard in the media.

Aryeh Golan: Horrible, horrific things occurred.

Yasmin Porat: True. But after two hours briefly at first there was no [Israeli] security force with us. We were the ones who called the police together with the abductors because the abductors wanted the police to arrive. Because their objective was to kidnap us to Gaza.

[SKIP OR CUT IN AUDIO]

Yasmin Porat: Meanwhile one of the terrorists decides to surrender, the terrorist I made a connection with. Over the course of those two hours I connected with some of the abductors, those that guarded the hostages.

Aryeh Golan: Yes

Yasmin Porat: And he decides to use me as a human shield. He decides to surrender. I am not aware of it in those moments it’s in retrospect. He starts to disrobe, he takes he calls to me and he starts to leave the house with me, under fire. At that time I yelled to the YAMAM [Israeli commandos] when we were already when they can hear me, to stop firing.

Aryeh Golan: Yes

Yasmin Porat: And then they hear me and stop firing. I see on the lawn, in the garden of the people from the kibbutz. There are five or six hostages lying on the ground outside, just like sheep to the slaughter, between the shooting of our [fighters] and the terrorists.

Aryeh Golan: The terrorists shot them?

Yasmin Porat: No, they were killed by the crossfire. Understand there was very, very heavy crossfire.

Aryeh Golan: So our forces may have shot them?

Yasmin Porat: Undoubtedly.

Aryeh Golan: When they tried to eliminate the abductors, Hamas?

Yasmin Porat: They eliminated everyone, including the hostages. Because there was very, very heavy crossfire. I was freed at approximately 5:30. The fighting apparently ended at 8:30. After insane crossfire, two tank shells were shot into the house. Its a small kibbutz house, nothing big. You saw it on the news.

Aryeh Golan: Yes

Yasmin Porat: Not a large place. And at that moment everyone was killed. There was quiet, except for one person limping, Hadas [Dagan], in the garden.

Aryeh Golan: How were they all killed?

Yasmin Porat: From the crossfire.

Aryeh Golan: Crossfire, so it could also be from our forces?

Yasmin Porat: Undoubtedly.

Aryeh Golan: Really?

Yasmin Porat: Thats what I believe.

Aryeh Golan: Oy it sounds so bad.

Yasmin Porat: Yes. And everyone died.

Aryeh Golan: And you, thanks to that terrorist who decided to give himself up …

Yasmin Porat: Exactly.

Aryeh Golan: And you survived and all the rest were killed there.

Yasmin Porat: Except for one other woman who survived, they found her later [trails off]. The person who dealt with the event checked her or something. They found her when she lifted her head, amongst all the bodies. And then, simply …

Aryeh Golan: And your partner, who was with you?

Yasmin Porat: Killed.

Aryeh Golan: He was killed too?

Yasmin Porat: Yes. Everyone was killed there. Just horrible.

Aryeh Golan: Have you returned to Kabri?

Yasmin Porat: I returned to Kabri and then the chaos started there.

Aryeh Golan: In the north?

Yasmin Porat: Yes. So now I’m a guest. I’m being hosted in a lovely way in Kibbutz Ein Harod. And I’m here for now.

Aryeh Golan: Youre in the [Jezreel] Valley now. Alright, Yasmin, you’ve undergone a horrific experience.

Yasmin Porat: True.

Aryeh Golan: You lost your partner, you saw people killed alongside you.

Yasmin Porat: And I …

Aryeh Golan: [INTERRUPTS] What happened to that terrorist who gave himself up?

Yasmin Porat: He is still arrested, and he was just called in for interrogation to help … You know, he will be interrogated about the accused. And sadly dozens more of my friends were killed because …

Aryeh Golan: [INTERRUPTS] Dozens of friends?

Yasmin Porat: Yes because its a community, the trance scene, we go to the same parties. It means that besides my partner, I knew dozens and hundreds [CUT OFF]

For a much more detailed article, visit the Electronic Intifada here.


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An Israeli soldier has shot and killed a toddler. Let’s discuss ‘outdated’ notions

Muhammad Tamimi: his two-year-old life was ended after a member of the Israel Defence Forces raided his village and shot this defenceless toddler in the head.

Remember last week, when This Site commented on Jewish Chronicle reviewer Jonathan Sacerdoti’s critique of Maureen Lipman’s performance in the play Rose, in which he stated that it invests “dramatic capital in the outdated notion that Jews kill children”.

Outdated?

This happened last week:

I think it’s time we discussed some of these “notions” that certain people are constantly telling us are “outdated”.

Certainly the claim that armed Israelis shoot children is neither a notion, nor outdated. It is a terrifying fact.

Some have tried to justify the killing of a child by saying his parents put him in the line of fire. This is clearly false; the shooting happened during a raid on a Palestinian village by members of the Israel Defence Forces.

They claimed that they were responding to Palestinian aggression and I am not going to debate that. It might be true but that is irrelevant to what has happened, which is this:

Armed military aggressors attacked unarmed civilians in their homes and shot a toddler in the head, causing injuries from which he later died.

There is no explanation that can justify such an act.

It is unacceptable on any level at all – as all civilised observers must agree. Nobody can ever say they shot an unarmed toddler in the head as an act of self-defence.

And the very least the rest of us should expect is a little contrition from people like Mr Sacerdoti.


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Benefit system for injured war veterans is worse than the DWP

It’s no surprise: the UK has a prime minister who showed his contempt for the armed forces by laying a wreath face down one year. The Ministry of Defence spitting on injured veterans is par for the course.

After a weekend in which Conservative politicians across the UK stood in all their hypocrisy and mouthed empty words of thanks to soldiers they despise… this:

Former members of the forces say they have been left ‘suicidal, homeless and let down’ by a system of payouts that is tough to navigate and appeal, leaving many feeling betrayed by the government they once served.

Thousands of veterans are struggling to get government payouts for injuries caused in service, with some facing poverty and suicide over the issue.

These veterans overwhelmingly report the same things – not getting the level of payment they need and then facing lengthy and complex battles to get an increase.

Does that seem familiar to you?

Payments to injured veterans come in war pensions and the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) – both administered by the Ministry of Defence which, it seems, couldn’t care less.

Anyone physically or mentally harmed during service before April 6, 2005, should receive war pension payments. Those injured after that date must apply to the AFCS.

But in practice, getting what they are owed seems impossible.

According to The Mirror,

Many former soldiers … report that vital medical evidence proving their claims is removed by the time their appeals are heard.

If veterans are unhappy with their war pension or AFCS payment, they can appeal. But for many the appeal process is complicated and long.

Veterans will often give up on the system or – tragically – die before they get any payment increase.

The Mirror‘s article features accounts by, and about, a large number of veterans who have been struggling to receive benefits they deserve after suffering injuries in the name of their country.

It seems to be unspoken Conservative government policy – consider the policy of the Department for Work and Pensions to deprive sick and disabled civilians of the payments they need if they’re to live lives that are close to normal.

This Writer has to ask what the legions of flag-waving patriots who observe Remembrance Day in good faith think of this betrayal.

Source: Thousands of injured war veterans denied full disability benefits in ‘cruel’ move – Mirror Online

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Mercer sacked over unequal treatment in prosecutions of armed forces veterans

Mercer: it’s right that he should leave the government – but it’s for the wrong reason.

The Minister for Armed Forces Veterans has reported that he has been “relieved of my responsibilities in government” because he disagrees with Tory policy on prosecutions for historic crimes.

This is extremely dodgy ground. It seems clear to This Writer that, if a serving member of the forces has committed a crime while on active duty – but the evidence only comes to light later – they should still face prosecution for it.

The Tory government sees the matter differently and has included in its Overseas Operations Bill measures to protect veterans from prosecution if the alleged crimes were committed more than five years before any allegations are made…

… except for those who served in Northern Ireland. They have been excluded from this measure, meaning long-retired personnel could face imprisonment for alleged crimes committed decades ago.

Nobody deserves to face the extreme distress of court proceedings and possible imprisonment over false allegations, of course.

But nor should anybody receive an automatic free pass if they did commit crimes, no matter how long ago they happened. Think of paedophiles whose abominable practices with children only come to light decades after they took place.

So Mercer is right to go – but he’s going for the wrong reason.

He should be leaving because personnel who served elsewhere are being let off – not because those who served in Northern Ireland are still on the hook.

He should also be leaving because the government hasn’t bothered to devise ways of weeding out unfounded, frivolous or malicious attempts to prosecute veterans, but has instead opted to offer (potentially) amnesty to criminals.

But nobody can say his views weren’t known. He offered to resign from Theresa May’s government in 2019 over the same issue. So it is perhaps unsurprising that he has now left Boris Johnson’s government after it refused to pay attention to his concerns about the same issue.

Of course, we don’t know the exact circumstances yet. First we were told Mercer was on the point of resigning, then we were told he had been sacked, then that he had actually resigned, and then in his resignation letter he said he had been “relieved” of his responsibilities.

Still, this is another departure over government policy, following that of Samuel Kasumu – who actually quit after Boris Johnson’s cronies rewrote a report on institutional racism in order to pretend that it no longer exists in the UK.

We may conclude that the Johnson government is highly prejudiced. Not only is it deeply racist, but it also discriminates against forces personnel depending on where they served.

That’s not a good look for a government that desperately wants to appear friendly to those in the services after years of scandal over veterans who were left homeless after their discharge.

Mercer himself won’t be short of cash after losing this job – if he’s still got his £85,000-a-year job as ‘non-executive director’ of a cyber-security firm.

So don’t worry about him. Worry about people who have been wronged by our armed forces who won’t get justice – and about veterans who are being wronged by a government that is still allowing vexatious prosecutions against them.

Source: Johnny Mercer: Tory MP resigns as defence minister – BBC News

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New Bill is ‘lost opportunity’ to put the Armed Forces Covenant into law

No respect: Boris Johnson showed contempt for our Armed Forces by laying his wreath face-down at a Remembrance Day ceremony. Now his government will show contempt by failing to enshrine the Armed Forces Covenant into law.

How many times must the Tories let servicepeople down before military personnel (and former members of the services) realize the Tories are not their friends and don’t deserve their vote?

People in the military tend to have Toryism drummed into them from early training days onwards. It was no surprise when military personnel were found to have been using images of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for target practice a few years ago.

But it is bizarre, when the Tories take every opportunity to let our squaddies down.

Case in point: the new Armed Forces Bill. The Tories are saying it will enshrine the Armed Forces Covenant in law, to ensure that armed forces personnel, veterans and their families are not disadvantaged by their service when accessing key public services like health care, education and housing, but are treated fairly.

Sadly, the Tories can’t even treat them fairly in discussing this law about them.

You see:

The Bill will not enshrine the covenant in law at all.

Instead, the Bill introduces

a legal duty for relevant UK public bodies to have due regard to the principles of the Covenant

– which means very little in real terms.

Labour’s John Healey has it right:

“As it stands, this bill is a missed opportunity. It does not put the Armed Forces Covenant properly into law to ensure Forces personnel and veterans suffer no disadvantage in access to services, nor will it put right the long-term failings in the military justice system.”

No doubt our forces personnel won’t know they’ve been hoodwinked until they are back in civilian life and try to access the services they’ve been promised.

Source: New legislation to help ensure fair treatment for armed forces – GOV.UK

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What is the point of Remembrance Day when the government lets down our veterans so badly?

Contempt: at the national Remembrance Day commemoration service in 2019, Boris Johnson showed contempt for our Armed Forces by laying his wreath face-down. Is this merely symptomatic of the Tory government’s attitude to veterans generally?

I pass this on without comment. Do I need to amplify it further?

Disabled ex-armed forces personnel are being let down by the welfare system, with many experiencing stress and anxiety brought on by the struggle to access social security benefits, according to the Royal British Legion.

The charity said frontline Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) staff were insufficiently aware of their obligations under the armed forces covenant, which requires public services to give special consideration to injured ex-service personnel.

Among the difficulties reported by veterans to a Royal British Legion survey was the failure of benefits officials to understand post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when carrying out and scoring health assessments for disability benefits.

study by a Salford University academic published last year found many armed forces veterans with complex needs reported overwhelmingly negative experiences of universal credit, disability benefits assessments and benefit sanctions.

Source: Disabled veterans being let down by benefits system – Royal British Legion | Benefits | The Guardian

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Outraged Labour members want to know why Starmer supports illegal torture by UK armed forces

Keir Starmer: if he was really a soldier – as in this mock-up image – he might be less inclined to support illegal torture by members of the armed forces.

The Tories aren’t the only ones getting a hammering from the public over plans to break international law.

Party members are calling on their representatives in Labour’s ruling NEC to debate why MPs were told to abstain from voting on a Bill to allow servicepeople to commit acts of torture.

Labour leader Keir Starmer demanded that MPs should abstain, rather than opposing the plan, which should be abhorrent to any right-thinking human being.

So when NEC member Rachel Garnham asked what members wanted to hear discussed at today’s meeting, this was the response:

Some have used it as a subject for humour – with a strong underlying criticism of Starmer, who many party members now consider to be no better than a Conservative:

Starmer’s leadership is too weak to brook any such criticism of his decisions, so it seems unlikely that any such discussion will take place.

This Writer certainly doesn’t expect to hear about any such deliberations.

So much for Labour Party democracy. Jeremy Corbyn tried to roll it back out to the members, but now Starmer is in charge, the people are losing their voice once again.

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Starmer’s bid to engage Armed Forces is a pale shadow of Corbyn’s

Keir Starmer: I adapted this mock-up of him pretending to be a soldier from a right-wing site that was mocking him.

Isn’t it strange how Keir Starmer is attacking the legacy of Jeremy Corbyn in public while failing to offer anything better than watered-down versions of the former Labour leader’s policies?

Today is Armed Forces Day, so Starmer has rolled out a weak-ass offer to the UK’s serving men and women, under the banner of the existing “Friends of the Forces”.

It comes with absolutely no offers at all – just an undertaking to “listen” to the views of forces personnel.

Shadow defence secretary John Healey said he wanted to hear the views of service men and women. The party’s current position is that the Tory government should devote a chapter of its upcoming defence and security review to military personnel, overhaul the country’s covenant with serving forces, and champion the armed forces in public.

Compare this with Jeremy Corbyn’s five pledges for the armed forces, as described in Labour’s election manifesto last year that Starmer doesn’t seem to have read:

  1. Fair Pay – scrap the public sector pay cap, which has seen a 5.8% real terms pay cut for the starting salary of an Army Private
  2. Decent housing for forces and their families – end the growing reliance on the private rented sector
  3. A voice for service men and women – consult on creating a representative body, similar to the Police Federation
  4. End privatisation – root and branch review of outsourcing and a clear presumption in favour of public delivery of public contracts
  5. Support for forces children – better access to schools with dedicated local authorities admissions strategy for the particular challenge of frequent school moves

Those were solid promises, not wishy-washy offers to “listen”. Corbyn’s plan would have made a difference.

Starmer’s is just a public relations ploy.

Source: Starmer launches Labour Friends of the Forces engagement programme – LabourList

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Forces veterans aren’t getting pensions in another sign of discrimination against them

Homeless: This could be an armed forces pensioner. There are plenty of stories of them dying homeless and alone on the UK’s streets.

It seems the government has been making it hard for ex-servicepeople to claim the pensions that should be theirs by right.

If you’re not surprised by this, it could be because we have been seeing reports of former forces personnel being made to sleep on the streets because they cannot afford a place to live.

So much for the government’s gratitude to those who have offered to lay down their lives for Queen and country.

Here’s the BBC:

Many veterans in Wales aged over 60 are not receiving armed forces pensions, according to a leading charity.

Age Cymru’s Steve Boswell said the money could make the difference between a life of “making do” and “activities and opportunities”.

Armed forces personnel who served from 1975 were automatically enrolled in the Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS).

But they must contact the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to be able to claim the cash.

The system is complex and eligibility is linked to factors such as amount of time served and the end of service, as well as retirement age.

Age Cymru said evidence from a Wales-wide project suggested many over-60s were not claiming what they are entitled to.

Why is the system so complex? Why is the government so keen to insult the people who have guaranteed our safety over recent decades?

We can only conclude that this is deliberate persecution – for which we should all be ashamed.

Source: Armed forces veterans missing out on pensions, says charity – BBC News

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Divided nation: Reaction to video of soldiers shooting Corbyn poster shows danger to democracy

This is a media-led scandal; if the Tory-dominated mass media had not spent the last four years demonising Jeremy Corbyn, members of our armed forces would not have used an image of him as target practice.

And supporters of the armed forces would not have voiced their own hatred of Mr Corbyn. Consider the comments of Trevor Coult, founder of ‘For Our Veterans’ – and the organisation’s own comments in support of him:

It does say much about both the organisation and the man.

But with 13,000 veterans homeless thanks to Conservative government policies, and Jeremy Corbyn the only political leader likely to change that…

… these servicepeople are going to feel like a proper bunch of patsies if they actively oppose him becoming the UK’s democratically-elected leader – as some are predicting:

Senior voices in the Army are playing the incident down as an “error of judgement”:

“Apolitical”, is it? Here’s one ex-serviceman’s response to that:

Meanwhile, members of the public have been making up their own minds – and they’re not impressed:

(Robert Peston, below, is one of those best-placed to answer his own question, as a member of the mass-media representatives who have been so instrumental in demonising Mr Corbyn, in accordance with the wishes of the Conservatives.)

https://twitter.com/MattTurner4L/status/1113461221574029312

https://twitter.com/Aman_Sez/status/1113360112096358400

Whatever the facts of the matter really are, this incident has undermined trust in the UK’s armed forces – to a devastating extent.

People no longer believe they can trust the services to defend our nation, its laws and the way of life that we, as citizens of the United Kingdom, hold dear.

Instead, it seems the forces have been perverted until they exist only to defend the ruling class – meaning the Conservatives and representatives of the political far-right.

What will their leaders do to repair the damage – and will they even bother?


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