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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The most moral army in history

The world is not shy about complaining about Israel's supposed barbarity as it fights against those who want to destroy every Jewish man, woman and child in the Middle East. Israel should not be shy about letting the world know that no army in history had ever cared more about protecting enemy civilians during wartime than Israel.
A Palestinian child and two teens, ages 10, 15 and 16, were killed in Monday’s Israel Air Force attack in Gaza, along with two Islamic Jihad members. Children were also among those wounded in the strike.

Security sources said that while the attack will be investigated, the targeted killings will continue, and IDF officials said there is a significant drop in the number of innocent civilians hurt during the army’s anti-terror operations.

Commander in Chief of the Israel Air Force, Maj. Gen. Eliezer Shakedi, said Tuesday that the Air Force has been successful in reducing the number of civilian deaths in targeted killing operations, stating that in 2005 one civilian was killed in every 28 attacks, as opposed to 2003, when a civilian was killed once in every 12 IAF targeted killing operation.

Speaking at a Tel Aviv University conference titled “Aerial Strength,” Shakedi said, “We are making every effort so innocent civilians will not be harmed, but nothing can be guaranteed here. This is a war with weapons involved.”

During his speech Shakedi presented a number of videos displaying accurate Air Force strikes in Gaza, during which no innocent civilians were harmed. He added that Air Force attacks are accountable for the deaths of 54 percent of all terrorists killed in 2006, a significant rise from years past.
Only one in every 28 aerial attacks end up with a civilian killed? That is not just interesting, it is astonishing. Even the one in 12 in 2003 is unprecedented in history.

The modern rules of war were written only in the last century. Until then, civilians were not protected at all. But Israel goes way beyond Geneva, in fighting a war against an enemy that ignores Geneva altogether. (By the way, reading the Conventions is a worthwhile exercise - the Israel-bashers deliberately use the language of Geneva when blaming Israel for imagined war crimes.)

Some wars are moral. Israel's war against Arab terrorists is one of them. But what is extraordinary is not the justice of the fight, but the lengths that Israel goes to protect the general population of the enemy, even while the enemy uses that very same Jewish morality against Israel by deliberately hiding among the civilians they pretend to defend.

And it is clear that Israel is still innovating methods of reducing collateral damage even beyond the accomplishments made so far.

Israel's friends should not be defensive when the IDF and IAF are accused of atrocities. They should be pro-active in showing the hypocrisy of a world that demands perfection from Jews when no one - not Americans, not Canadians, not the French or British - have ever fought a war with as much care about the enemy's civilian population. Ever.