Weekly Commentary: False morality handicaps IDF Planning for Gaza
Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: May l, 2008
This is how Abu Rajah, a resident of Beit Hanoun in the Gaza Strip,
described how Hamas gunmen take over apartment buildings when Israeli forces
approach the area::
"Scores of masked men rushed to the area. Most of them carried large bags
full of weapons. They invaded our apartment buildings and demanded that the
resident leave. In response the women asked the gunmen to distance
themselves from the buildings and children. The atmosphere became tense and
some of the residents were beaten by the gunmen, who were mostly from Hamas.
In the end most of the residents left the buildings. We left the buildings
in their hands. They brought sandbags into our bedrooms and living room.
They set up heavy machine guns in the windows and planted large explosive
devices in the sidewalks. "
Fatah website as quoted by Maariv correspondent Amit Cohen - 1 May 2008.
What is the operative message for Israeli policy makers from this report?
Clearly, from an operational standpoint, the message is that the gunmen in
Gaza are transforming civilian locations into dangerous military positions
whose elimination and/or neutralization is required in order to insure the
safety and efficacy of the IDF forces operating in the area.
The Palestinian civilians certainly have every right to complain and protest
that Palestinian gunmen commandeer their properties.
But this is not Israel's problem.
This is an internal Palestinian problem.
Israel's problem is dealing with the gunmen and the military positions they
occupy. That these military positions were previously civilian apartment
buildings makes them no less dangerous.
As Israel prepares plans for a massive operation in the Gaza Strip it is
imperative that this be understood.
Unfortunately, there are indications that a distorted PC mentality may still
have a heavy influence in the IDF.
Yesterday Jerusalem Post correspondent Yaakov Katz reported that Col. Shai
Alkilai, who was appointed by OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen.Yoav Galant to
investigate the cause of Monday's explosion in northern Gaza that killed a
mother and her four children, is looking into whether IDF commanders took
into account the possibility that the terrorist duo was carrying large
bombs - that could cause damage to nearby homes - when the decision was made
to target them from the air.
IDF forces were operating in the area at the time.
The terrorists intended to use those bombs to kill IDF soldiers at the very
Col. Alkilai's line of inquiry sends the wrong message to the commanders in
the field and a disturbing message to the combat forces and their families
regarding the apparent value placed on the lives of IDF soldiers.
This is no time for vague positions that only serve to embolden and
strengthen the terrorists.
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
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