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Friday, July 07, 2006

A father's question

IDF Staff Sergeant (according to YNet and the JPost) /First Lieutenant (according to HaAretz) Yehuda Bassel HY"D was killed today in the village of Atrata in the Gaza Strip by 'Palestinian' sniper fire.

It goes without saying that Bassel was part of the ground force that entered Atrata and other Arab villages in Northern Gaza today. Nearly three months ago, in the aftermath of the Passover suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, I wrote the following regarding the use of ground troops in IDF actions against Palestinian terrorists:
The Post also reports that the IDF General Staff has discussed launching an extensive Defensive Shield-like operation throughout the West Bank. The Central Command has already begun sending infantry battalions to urban warfare centers to sharpen soldier's skills for the long and tedious operations that can be expected under such a campaign. Such an operation would target the Hamas-run 'Palestinian Authority,' using Hamas' statements as justification. While such an operation would certainly be desirable, I hope that we will not get bogged down in a Jenin-type operation in which we risk IDF soldiers' lives because the terrorists are hiding among civilians (which - by the way - violates the Geneva Convention). This time, with the Palestinian civilians having chosen the terrorists in their January elections just three months ago, I hope that we will see more use of air power and less risking of the lives of Israeli ground troops in house to house combat. If that means that lots of 'Palestinians' flee across the border to Jordan, all the better. But I doubt that Israel will be willing to take the inevitable international and UN heat from an air operation, and I'm not even sure that the United States would back us if we did.
This evening, YNet reports that Zachariah Bassel, Yehuda's father, asked the following upon learning of his son's death:
"Can you explain to me why these guys have to be placed in so much danger? We have an Air Force. Why do they have be endangered if these barbarians are sending Qassams to Ashkelon? What is the aim of these Qassams? To kill children and women and innocent civilians. We must return in kind through the Air Force," he added.

"Soldiers' lives do not have to be placed in danger. I have a lot to say about the government, this is a failing policy. The prime minister says morning and evening 'we, we,' but the result is terrible," said Zachariah.
Those of you who are regular readers know that I agree with Mr. Bassel. While I would not suggest targeting civilians, the fact that IDF soldiers' lives are endangered in ground actions against terrorists who hide among civilians - in violation of the Geneva Convention - is absurd. So long as we continue to endanger our soldiers' lives to ensure that no 'civilians' are killed, the terrorists will continue to hide among the 'civilians' and the 'civilians' will have no incentive to throw the terrorists out. We lose both coming and going.

Just last Friday, I wrote:
Things will only change if the 'Palestinians' get so disgusted with our bombing that instead of railing against the Jews and the Zionists all the time, they get up and throw the terrorists out of their midst. Unfortunately, that's not likely to happen when the only things being bombed are empty roads, empty fields and empty government buildings. Think Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. I'm advocating the same idea that was used then. Military strategists have no doubt that the carpet bombing of Dresden and the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved thousands of allied soldiers' lives through enemy civilian casualties. That's why I'm looking for 'Palestinian casualties' in Gaza: because I am tried of seeing Israeli soldiers and civilians die. I'm tired of seeing terrorists target Israeli children.
I stand by what I said last Friday.

The IDF could have accomplished its mission without Yehuda Bassel HY"D being shot in the head. Some 'Palestinian civilians' who are sheltering terrorists might have died in Yehuda's place. If so, they would have deserved to die much more than Yehuda did. Yehuda was not shielding terrorists. May Yehuda be a meilitz yosher for his family and for all of us before the Heavenly court, and may he be the last Israeli soldier to die protecting 'Palestinian' lives.

4 Comments:

At 2:21 AM, Blogger reliapundit said...

the idf is targeting hamas and al akss leadership using the best means for each case, on a case by case basis.

 
At 2:25 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

And therefore?

 
At 7:57 PM, Blogger Guy Spier said...

Carl,

An even better example of what you are
advocating is General Sherman in the American Civil War. Rather than fight the southern soldiers, Sherman brought the war to the rich, southern plantationers. Read about it here:
http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson110099.html

A summary of his strategy might be as follows: Target the perpetrators of the war (owners of plantations) rather than their proxies (soldiers on the front line)


I've spent a lot of time thinking about what the Israeli equivalent of Sherman's army would be.

My best response so far is to target, the politically, militarily and financially powerful groups in Palestinian society. In addition to the terrorists and their command structures, that would include the assets of the civilian leadership. So I'm thinking of the expensive and well to do neighbourhoods of Gaza.

 
At 2:51 PM, Blogger Peretz Rickett said...

As I argue here, collateral damage is a mythology. You say you don't advocate targeting innocent civiliams. I agree with that at long as we are targeting somebody. The innocents are so very few (as born out by this JPOST article) and are not likely to be anywhere near the terrorist activity.

 

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