Monday, May 04, 2015

Today, the leftist group Breaking the Silence released a report on how awful the IDF was during the Gaza war.

As usual, the stories have no context and no details, so it is difficult to know what exactly happened.

But I went to the BTS site to see testimonies from Gaza last year. Here was the first one I saw:

There were a few times where it was just too much and I had to say something. Because in two months of fighting, people make mistakes, mistakes happen. It’s our good fortune, and I mean both as a nation and as the IDF, that there are some people who know how to stand up and say, “Hang on, something bad is happening here.” I remember one incident in which there was permissiveness of sort on the part of the upper levels with regard to wanting to open fire, and it was fortunate that somebody stepped up and said something.

What was the story?
Some militant was being monitored, he had been incriminated, and he was on his way to a meeting with other militants, and on his way there he was joined by another person who started walked alongside him, and the moment their paths linked up – despite the fact that it was totally against regulations – the second guy got incriminated too, and nobody knew from where he had popped up. So you couldn’t incriminate him ‘dry.’ And in that case, there were people there who said, “Hang on, this is no good.” And in the end the strike wasn’t carried out, it wasn’t executed. What I’m trying to say is, that sometimes even the commanders up top make mistakes, and I was present during an incident where it was stopped. I can’t know if there were incidents in which it wasn’t stopped, but in my estimation there were cases in which incriminations were made against the regulations.
So someone walking next to a militant was almost accidentally killed and in the end he wasn't because someone spoke up.

Doesn't this show how horrible the IDF is?

Arguably, this shows that the IDF's rules of engagement are too permissive. Depending on the value of the target, according to the laws of armed conflict, the IDF could have killed both of them without the slightest worry about it being a war crime or even immoral.

Akiva Bigman at Mida last year looked at many more testimonies and was equally underwhelmed. Every story he read either didn't show anything very wrong, minor problems or issues that would happen any time you deal with human beings, or at worst, some problematic episodes that don't describe the context of the danger that the soldiers were in at the moment of decision.

I'm seeing other stories that are just as unimportant. But BTS and its sponsors know that most people wouldn't bother reading the stories themselves that often show the morality of the IDF, and will only read the most lurid ones that are cherry-picked for Haaretz.

If any other Western army had a similar initiative to BTS, chances are they would come out much worse.

Yet "Breaking the Silence," as with so many other NGOs, is funded by the EU with the intent to bash Israel and only Israel.

Because you've gotta start somewhere. And, apparently, when Israel is your target, you've gotta end at the same place you start.

(See also NGO-Monitor)

Another BTS post coming up next.



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