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Friday, July 28, 2006


The Israeli mindset

A very interesting view into the mindset of the Israeli military, from Ha'aretz. Here's an excerpt:
If there are doubts in the IDF regarding the necessity of the war, they are not being harbored by the base commander or the squadron commander, Lieutenant Colonel K. Hezbollah wants to throw us into the sea, they say, Hezbollah fires from places where there are civilians, and the IDF that is fighting it is "the most moral army in the world." It's as simple as that.

Every case of civilian deaths - "the uninvolved" is the preferred label today in the IDF - has an explanation. Civilians who were killed in the bomb shelter of their home were attacked because their home was found to be a "terror target," civilians who were killed on the highway while fleeing the villages near the border with Israel were killed because their car was "incriminated" for some reason or other. And besides, sometimes there are mistakes. As in the case of Marwahin.

Marwahin is an important case. Twenty-three civilians were killed there, including about 18 children, when they fled from the village near Israel's border, after leaflets calling on the residents to leave their homes were dropped there. Colonel A. says that in that case it was simply a mistake. The pilot was told to hit a certain target, and he made a mistake.

Foreign journalists have reported many cases in which entire families were killed while trying to flee after receiving IDF warnings. A Western official who visited Lebanon recently says that the phenomenon of aerial attacks on the highways is very common. Only UN or Red Cross vehicles can move on the highways in relative security, and even that only after coordination with the IDF at least 12 hours in advance.

The villagers, of course, do not have this option. "The villagers who want to leave their homes are completely defenseless," says the official. "They are in danger of an attack on the highway. Nothing helps. Not a white flag, nothing. That's why many stay behind. They're afraid to stay but even more afraid to travel."

Colonel A. is not familiar with the problem. "The only vehicles that are attacked are vehicles that open fire. I am not familiar with refugee vehicles being targeted."

The only vehicles that are attacked are those that open fire?

Lieutenant Colonel K: "The army does not attack vehicles that we know are civilian vehicles. On the other hand, every vehicle that is attacked undergoes a process of incrimination. Sometimes there is circumstantial evidence that incriminates the vehicle, certain criteria that this vehicle meets and that cause the person making decisions to decide that this vehicle is an incriminated vehicle."
Well worth reading the whole thing.

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