IDF to investigate exhumation photos

Photos show IDF rabbinate officials smiling while exhuming Gaza graves.

By ARIEH O’SULLIVAN, MATTHEW WAGNER
November 29, 2005 20:30
2 minute read.
gaza grave 298

gaza grave 298. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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OC Manpower Maj.-Gen. Elazar Stern ordered an urgent investigation to determine how photographs of smiling members of the IDF rabbinate digging up bodies of Jews exhumed in the Gush Katif cemetery were made public. Shlomo Yules, bereaved father of Itai Raphael Yules, 13, who was disinterred from the Gaza cemetery, said in response, "This is a continuation of the evil treatment by the government and the IDF to Israel's most faithful citizens. Anything I say will not help express my horrible feelings about the whole thing. "They are continuing with resolve to treat us unjustly and brutally. It includes everything from the crowded hotels that house us, the refusal to compensate Gaza residents who rented and now this." The IDF assumed responsibility for exhuming the bodies from 48 graves in Gush Katif after the disengagement and reburying them in Israel. The entire area was closed off the media and the only photographer able to enter was Dan Keinan from the IDF weekly B'machane. In September, Stern personally dismissed Keinan and two journalists from the weekly for ignoring his instructions not to publish reports about the disinterment of the bodies in the Gush Katif cemetery. After one of Keinan's photos appeared on the IDF weekly's front page, he was confined to his base for 18 days as punishment and kicked out of the weekly. It is not clear from where the photos currently appearing on various Internet sites originated, but they were likely taken by the IDF photographer. According to an IDF statement, the army views "the publication of the photographs as a very grave matter and regrets any distress that it may have caused the families." According to IDF sources, Stern is ultimately responsible for the content of the weekly and is supposed to personally approve each edition and could have stopped it. The IDF Spokesman said that the disinterment was off limits to the media and that the journalists from B'machane (who wear uniforms) had entered the area without permission.

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