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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How 'human rights' organizations affect military tactics

Earlier today, I was sent a fascinating article by Yagil Henkin about how the lessons of the massacre that wasn't at Jenin in 2002 affected strategy for Gaza in 2008-09. Quite simply, the fact that Israel was condemned by the 'human rights' organizations and European governments after sacrificing 23 soldiers to hold 'Palestinian' casualties to 52 in Jenin, meant that Israel did not do anything more (or less) than what was internationally required to protect civilians in Operation Cast Lead.
One thing was clear to the IDF after Defensive Shield: It would get bad press either way. Endangering soldiers more than international law required was illogical, since the IDF would be blamed one way or another. The wholesale condemnation of the IDF in the wake of Defensive Shield, combined with bereaved families feeling that their sons were sacrificed in order to save face, contributed to the IDF taking a different approach during Cast Lead.

While the IDF still caused less collateral damage and civilian casualties than, say, the Americans did during the second battle of Falujah, the Israeli military was less prepared to take chances. True enough, tactics such as phoning to warn Hamas leaders to evacuate their families before bombs were dropped on their homes (and arms caches hidden there) were the norm during Cast Lead (although considered abnormal by any other military logic). In another instance, a missile was diverted from its target after the terrorist ran into a civilian crowd. At the same time, some charges against Israel also proved false: the claim that white phosphorous had been used against civilians, whereas a M825 smoke shell had exploded, which is not, as the Red Cross affirmed, prohibited under international law. It is telling that Human Rights Watch decided to send Joe Stork, whose blatant Anti-Israel bias was revealed when he claimed, in the 70s, that "Zionism may be defeated only by fighting imperialism" to research Israel's alleged atrocities.

Yet it remains true that while Israel used firepower in accordance to international law, the number of civilians killed and the collateral damage in Gaza was much greater than in Defensive Shield, although lower than the "normal" damage of urban warfare. Comparing the cases reveals an interesting phenomenon: in some cases, human rights organizations can cause more damage than good to their case, since wild claims and exaggerations after Defensive Shield contributed to Israel’s change of tactics in Gaza.

If you not only act in accordance with international law but go above and beyond the legal requirements to minimize collateral damage, while paying the price in soldiers' lives, yet are still blamed for "massacres," and, as a result, are treated worse than countries that have committed massacres, the incentives to make this extra effort are inconsequential. Organizations that blame Israel for "lack of proportionality" should first examine themselves and their claims – since their own lack of proportionality also affects human lives.
Read it all. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and their friends have 'Palestinian' blood on their heads.

The picture is of live kids depicted as dead for the cameras during Operation Cast Lead.


At 8:52 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

As I've said, there is no rational or even a Jewish basis for Israel's army to be "super moral." Israel's concern shouldn't be to save the enemy but to destroy him utterly and protect the lives of its own people. True, Israel will still be condemned for any military action she might take but at least Israel can take solace in knowing the enemy has been decimated to the point that will takes years to decades before it ever lifts a hand against Jews again. And for this long over due change in Israeli behavior, we have to thank the UN and the world's human rights NGOs. They have taught Jews that "turning the other cheek" only earn Jews the world's contempt.


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