Thursday, March 1, 2007

Is the IDF using 'human shields' in the West Bank?

A recent ISRAELI report holds that the IDF has been using 'human shields' in its operation in Nablus. There was on-scene filming by Channel 10 news, and the Jerusalem Post reported this as using 'human shields.' Haaretz, Arutz Sheva, and Y Net News have not weighed in on this yet. What is it that happened? It is clear from the photos on JPost's website that a Palestinian was used to open the door to a home that might have weapons/guns/munitions, in order to basically prevent the person inside from opening fire on the IDF. This was already ruled illegal by the Israeli Supreme Court. I ask you kind folks whether this should be considered the use of 'human shields.' Lest we forget the difference between this and what the Palestinians do - they use human shields to protect weapons factories and terrorists. The IDF, in this instance, used the Palestinian to prevent open fire on the IDF, and a resulting return fire. Some of the human shields' Palestinians use are voluntary, and some are not. In the case of the Palestinian used by the IDF, it most probably was NOT voluntary. Is this morally the same thing? My thought is that this is NOT the same thing. Israel used this person in order to PREVENT gun fire from erupting (due to Palestinians protecting munitions sites), and SAVE lives. The Palestinians use human shields in order to shame Israel when it acts in its military capacity to seek out terrorists (by inadvertant death to civilians - in other words, the Palestinians WANT these civilians to die), or to prevent the IDF from going after weapon factories, and gun and drug smuggling tunnels. In short, the motives are totally different. War is hell. Sometimes tactics such as what was recently used by the IDF are necessary...and the term 'human shield' has a politically loaded implication and should NOT be used to describe what the IDF did. Yet the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that measures used to protect the lives of the IDF are illegal. They are hampering the war effort. And for that matter, just who is on the Israeli Supreme Court, anyway? This is an issue, as there evidently is a court limitation bill in the works. Carl in Jerusalem wrote a report...and it may surprise you.


The Raccoon said...

The "neighbor" technique is problematic. Simple, effective, but problematic - when you go after a wanted terrorist, you have his neighbor knock on the door and tell him that IDF are here to arrest him. Otherwise they have this strange tendency to shoot as soon as they see soldiers.

This is very unfair with the neighbor. But on the other hand, there are two alternatives:

1) letting Israelis die

2) killing the suspect, probably along with lots of civilians.

Tricky choice, innit?

Red Tulips said...


I understand that these are the options. And given them, frankly, it was irresponsible for the Israeli Supreme Court to have made the decision it made. This is wartime. Does the Israeli Supreme Court simply not realize it?

The Raccoon said...

I don't think the Supreme Court cares. For some of them, there is no war;

they are safe in their armored limos;

They are safe in their homes in Savyon or Reut or Caesaria, behind high walls patrolled by agents they never see;

They are safe because their children (after leaving their sheltered fortress communities) live in Europe or USA;

They are safe because for them soldiers are only blurry shapes behind tinted windows, and terrorists are men in suits (just like them) who sign papers and have coffee.

As for those of them who are aware of the war... they don't care. Getting that new appointment, or making sure your mate remains in his position, is valued more than mere Jewish lives. And getting good rep in Europe's ivory towers is certainly more important than the lives of some plebes, or the existence of Israel.

If our dear leaders keep this up... well, there's plenty of rope in Isral. And plenty of trees and light poles in Knesset Square.

The only question remaining is how to find the few good men amongst these patrician scumbags.

The Raccoon said...

You don't get hanged for treason in Israel, BTW. And these nice people probably don't deserve death - only to be removed from their post and have every memory of their foul legacy replaced with something that's actually right.

But then again, they're small fry compared to this.
For Barakeh and his mates I would change the law and make public execution the punishment for such blatant, arrogant and open treason.

Snake Oil Baron said...

While it may be illegal or even ethically wrong it is not the same as using "human shields" if the person has the ability to refuse (he will not be shot if he refuses to open the door) then he is merely cooperating with an IDF request.

Hiding behind people who have no chance to escape is "using human shields" but then if we are going to ignore all ethical rules and use fundamentalist "moral equivalence" then allowing civilians to exist in a war zone is a war crime.