Former IDF combat officer gives testimony to U.N. Human Rights Council

Ravid Elfassi, who served in the Golani brigade's reconnaissance unit, spoke less than a day before UNHCR adopted report accusing Israel of war crimes.

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March 24, 2019 00:57
3 minute read.
Ravid Elfassi at the UN Human Rights Council

Ravid Elfassi at the UN Human Rights Council. (photo credit: MY TRUTH)

 
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Less than a day before the United Nations Human Rights council voted to adopt a report accusing Israel of human rights violations, a former IDF combat officer testified to the council about human rights violations by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“The hardest lesson that I learned during my military career was that while we put our lives on the line to protect our families and children, Hamas and other terror organizations use their own children as human shields and cannon fodder,” said Ravid Elfassi at the council in Geneva. “This is not an isolated event. It’s their standard operating procedure.”

Elfassi, served as an officer in the Golani Brigade’s reconnaissance unit and spoke as part of My Truth, an organization established following Operation Protective Edge in 2014 by Avihai Shorshan.

My Truth collects signed testimonies and photographs from combat operations between 2004-2018 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that attest to the use of human shields and other human rights violations by Hamas and other terror groups.

Elfassi only had 90 seconds to present his testimony to the council, but in the short amount of time he was given, he told the council of salaries paid to Palestinian terrorists sitting in Israeli jails by the Palestinian Authority and the murder of the Fogel family, who were killed by a Palestinian terrorist in their home in 2011.

“It has been said that terrorism in the eyes of one person is a freedom fighter in the eyes of another, but how can you consider yourself a freedom fighter, for stabbing a three-month-old baby, Hadas Fogel, in front of her parents? How can someone call himself a Jihadi, a “holy” warrior, for taking the life of a child? These are the fanatics who we as IDF soldiers are fighting against on a daily basis,” he said.

Elfassi, who continues to serve as a combat officer in his reserve duty, also spoke of the use of women and children as human shields by Hamas – a tactic the group continues to use to this day during the weekly, violent Great March of Return.


“In 2007, I was sent on a mission in Gaza to seek out a Hamas squad which was launching rockets at Israeli cities. With my own eyes, I witnessed as Hamas sent out six- and seven-year-old children to search for me and my men. When these children found us, Hamas opened heavy fire using AK-47s and RPGs, while the children were still between us and them,” Elfassi said of an incident he witnessed during his IDF service.

“If the United Nations truly wishes to investigate terrorism and human rights, I implore you to look at the My Truth report, which details the use of human shields by terror organizations,” he said. “If so, you might better understand the reality that we as IDF soldiers confront – and which is too often neglected by this forum.”

My Truth, which days earlier spoke at a panel at the United Nations along UN Watch and NGO Monitor, has documented dozens of testimonies from former combat soldiers, including several who just recently finished their military service and were posted along the Gaza border fence during the Great Return Marches.

On Friday the UNHCR voted to adopt a report accusing Israel of human rights violations, including war crimes, for its response to violent riots and attacks as part of the weekly Great March of Return along the Gaza border fence.

The Council’s 40th session voted by a margin of 23 to 8, with 15 abstentions and one absence to adopt the 252-page report conducted by the Commission of Inquiry which claims that 183 Palestinians, including 35 children, have been killed in the clashes, and that the majority were unarmed.

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