Sunday, August 14, 2022

+972 Magazine has an article about how awful and immoral the IDF is.

The Israeli news site Ynet quoted army officials boasting that the ratio between “non-combatants” and combatants killed was “the best of all the operations.” And yet, Israel admits that it killed at least 11 people who had nothing to do with militant activities, including a five-year-old girl. 
Yes, a five year old girl who was near a top Islamic Jihad target was killed.  She was not the target. If there was a way to attack the target without killing the girl, the IDF would have. (Indeed, during Breaking Dawn, Israel did abort attacks on legitimate targets when civilians were around - as long as they could wait and attack the same target later without the civilians.) Since it couldn't attack the legitimate  target without killing the girl, she was unfortunately killed as well. 

These are the laws of armed conflict. The presence of civilians do not make a military target immune from attack. The fact that there was a five year old girl near the Islamic Jihad commander does not, under any interpretation of international law, mean that Israel must not attack the commander.

The laws of armed conflict are designed to protect civilians without impeding military efficiency in any way. Those words come from the International Committee of the Red Cross, no tme.

And it has to be that way, because otherwise terrorist groups can just ensure that they are well embedded with civilians and can then act with impunity.

That appears to be what +972 wants:
Dana — who asked to use a pseudonym, like all the former soldiers interviewed for this article — is a kindergarten teacher who lives in a wood-furnished apartment full of philosophy books in central Tel Aviv. During her military service, she took part in an assassination operation in which a five-year-old boy was killed in Gaza.

“When I served in the Gaza Division, we were following someone from Hamas, because [the army] knew he was hiding rockets,” she said. “They made a decision to eliminate him.”

Dana served as a signal traffic analysis officer in the operations room, where her job was to confirm that the missile had hit the right person. “We sent out a UAV to follow the man to kill him,” she said, “but we saw that he was with his son. A boy who was five or six years old, I think.

“....They killed the Hamas military operative, and the little boy who was next to him.”
Unless they had a way that they could kill the Hamas operative without killing the boy, this is not only a legal but also a moral decision, albeit tragic. It is a decision any army would make. 

But to some, Israel must be held to much higher standards that every other nation. A single civilian killed among a hundred terrorists makes the entire operation immoral, according to them. 

And endangering Israeli civilians as a result because of the resultant attacks that would or could happen by not attacking the terrorists? That is not part of the anti-Israel crowd's moral calculus.

That's not the only way this article demands Israel go beyond international law:
The army also admitted that it shoots unarmed people, according to a female officer who gave an interview to Ynet after the latest onslaught. “The [PIJ] operative came down from the position as he was unarmed, and I opened fire,” she said. “When he fell, I fired more.” 
Legal combatants are any member of the armed forces (outside medical and religious personnel.) These include those who aid the fighting, not only those with literal weapons. A lookout, a messenger between combat forces, a radio operator helping aim mortars - all are considered combatants under international law, even when unarmed. 

It is easy for Israel-hating propagandists to take an incident of collateral damage and frame it as a war crime. It doesn't make it true. From all indications, this operation was as moral as possible in warfare.

That is not good enough for inveterate inciters against Israel. 

(The article mentions some other issues that are morally problematic if true. But they aren't publishing them to force the IDF to improve its policies - they are publishing them to incite more hatred against Israel.) 

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