Soldiers’ Accounts of Gaza Killings Raise Furor in Israel
In the two months since Israel ended its military assault on Gaza, Palestinians and international rights groups have accused it of excessive force and wanton killing in that operation, but the Israeli military has said it followed high ethical standards and took great care to avoid civilian casualties.
Now testimony is emerging from within the ranks of soldiers and officers alleging a permissive attitude toward the killing of civilians and reckless destruction of property that is sure to inflame the domestic and international debate about the army’s conduct in Gaza. On Thursday, the military’s chief advocate general ordered an investigation into a soldier’s account of a sniper killing a woman and her two children who walked too close to a designated no-go area by mistake, and another account of a sharpshooter who killed an elderly woman who came within 100 yards of a commandeered house.
The testimonies by soldiers, leaked to the newspapers Maariv and Haaretz, appeared in a journal published by a military preparatory course at the Oranim Academic College in the northern town of Tivon. The newspapers promised to release more such anecdotal accounts on Friday.
The academy’s director, Dany Zamir, told Israel Radio, “Those were very harsh testimonies about unjustified shooting of civilians and destruction of property that conveyed an atmosphere in which one feels entitled to use unrestricted force against Palestinians.”
AIG Executives Face Scorn, Even On Their Own Driveways
The AIG executive who was nicknamed “Jackpot Jimmy” by a New York tabloid walked up the driveway toward his bay-windowed house in Fairfield, Conn., on Thursday afternoon.
“How do I feel?” said the executive, James Haas, repeating the question he had just been asked. “I feel horrible. This has been a complete invasion of privacy.”
Haas walked on. “You have to understand,” he said, “there are kids involved, there have been death threats. …” His voice trailed off. It looked as if he was fighting back tears.
“I didn’t have anything to do with those credit problems,” said Haas, 47. “I told Mr. Liddy”— Edward M. Liddy, the chief executive of AIG, the insurance giant — “I would rescind my retention contract.”
He ended the conversation with a request: “Leave my neighbors alone.”
Medical Laser Makers Aiming at Toenail Fungus
Laser eye surgery has enabled millions of people to throw away their eyeglasses. Now several medical technology companies are hoping that lasers aimed at the feet will allow millions to take their socks off, even in public.
The target is toenail fungus — an infection in an estimated 10 percent of American adults, or 23 million people — that causes toenails to become thick, yellow and fetid.
If these lasers, which recently completed small clinical trials, work, they will represent a new way to treat nail infection by selectively irradiating fungi while leaving the nail and surrounding tissue intact.
Right now, there is no sure cure. The fungi are so hardy that popular antifungal pills, which carry a small risk of liver damage, are completely successful less than half of the time.