Mon Jan 26, 2009 7:7PM
Chief Military Rabbi Brigadier General Avi Ronzki
The Israeli Army's chief rabbi has caused controversy by calling on troops to 'show no mercy' in their attacks against Palestinians in Gaza.
Chief Military Rabbi Brigadier General Avi Ronzki had distributed pamphlets to Israeli troops implicitly sanctioning the killing of civilians.
"When you show mercy to a cruel enemy you are being cruel to pure and honest soldiers. These are not games at the amusement park where sportsmanship teaches one to make concessions. This is a war on murderers," the pamphlets read.
Human rights group Yesh Din has said that the pamphlet borders "on incitement and racism against the Palestinian people."
The group urged Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Army Chief General Gabi Ashkenazi to dismiss Ronzki.
The pamphlet also quotes statements made by Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, the extremist leader of the Jewish settlers in the West Bank - who opposes any compromise with Palestinians.
"The Palestinians claim they deserve a state here, when in reality there was never a Palestinian or Arab state within the borders of our country," the pamphlet quoted Aviner as saying.
According to the right group, the pamphlet contains "degrading and belittling messages that border on incitement and racism against the Palestinian people. These messages can be interpreted as a call to act outside of the confines of international laws of war."
Thousands of people, including women and children were killed or wounded during Israel's Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli Army also used banned weapons, including white phosphorous and depleted uranium, to attack targets inside the populated area.