The Israeli Confessions

The historians Uri Milstein and Meir Pa’il, who hardly ever agree on anything, this time, find themselves on the same side of the fence.


“The Israeli army was ashamed to issue a public announcement stating that its chief Elite Unit acted with such moral depravity, because for years our national conscience had been based on the comparison of our seemingly high moral standards in battle in contrast to the barbaric morals of our enemies. The fighters themselves understand very well that what they did along the Suez Canal was ignominious and harmful to the reputation of the Israeli army. But they are not hurrying to incriminate themselves and to put a black mark on their paratroopers’ wings. In actual fact, what happened was that battalion 890 met a disintegrated and defeated unit of the Egyptian army in Sharm al-Sheikh, a unit which could not fight and was only seeking a way to be taken prisoner. If, nevertheless, there were several Egyptian soldiers who fired a bullet or two, no one really thought that they intended to fight. Raful saw that he did not have enough men to put in charge of the gathering of the Egyptian soldiers, who wanted to surrender, and gave an order to kill all of them. All in all, there was nothing extraordinary there, as far as he is concerned. That man has a distorted value system which does not, and never did, have anything to do with the Israeli army. For him, a soldier who takes a transistor radio as booty is a criminal. But a soldier, who kills an Arab, with hands up or hands down, is blessed. In any way that you look at what happened at Sharm al-Sheikh, it comes under the heading of massacre. Even if you choose to use another term.”


“Division 9 and battalion 890 advanced towards Sharm al-Sheikh from different sides, competing to get there first. Between them, the Egyptian division was stuck, having entered the pincer without any possibility of escaping. In the course of their attempt to escape, the Egyptians lost all of their operational capabilities and fell into groups, thirsty, hungry, exhausted, and then into the hands of Raful and his soldiers. The men of Battalion 890 understood that nothing would be done to them if they eliminated a few dozen or a few hundred POWs, as long as they won the war and returned home as heroes. Raful only wanted to reach Sharm al-Sheikh first before Division 9 and did not have the time to deal with prisoners. Therefore, nearly every Egyptian who confronted him and his soldiers was eliminated in the course of the advance to the south.”