Against the backdrop of senior Israeli politicians and army officers avoiding visits to European countries fearing arrests for war crimes under universal jurisdiction laws, a new website has published names and photographs of 200 soldiers whom it said were involved in Israel’s onslaught on Gaza two years ago.
The site, which Israeli media reported was initiated by anonymous British activists and hosted by a US-based internet service, dubbed the soldiers listed as ‘war criminals’.
The website drew wide coverage in Israel because, unusually, it listed not only the army's top-ranking officers, but also commanders of battalions, companies and platoons, and even conscripted soldiers, The National newspaper said.
"From now on, European travel may entail some risk even to a young platoon commander from the paratroopers' brigade, who may have in the meantime been released from the army and was considering studying abroad," wrote Amos Harel, a commentator in the Haaretz newspaper.
The site was removed by its hosting service on Friday because of an unspecified breach in its terms of service, Haaretz reported.
However, before its removal, the information it had gathered - written in both Hebrew and English - was rapidly replicated on other blogs and websites and remains available.
The disclosure of the troops' details also appeared to expose the Israeli military's growing difficulty in restricting such information from being revealed in the internet era, despite the army's technology-savvy image.
The list includes IDF chief, his incoming successor, the head of military intelligence and the Israel Air Force chief.
The three-week offensive launched by Israel in December 2008 resulted in the killings of about 1,400 Gazans, most of them civilians.
Attempts by left-leaning groups, both in Israel and abroad, to list those commanders who took part in the Gaza fighting began as soon as the Gaza war ended, Harel wrote.