Monday, February 02, 2009

Our goal is not to tie down the army, but to give it the tools to win in a way that is legal

Really interesting article I got sent via China Miéville on the international law division of the IDF, I will comment properly on this at some point, because it strikes me as something that could be theoretically rather useful:
The idea to bombard the closing ceremony of the Gaza police course was internally criticized in the Israel Defense Forces months before the attack. A military source involved in the planning of the attack, in which dozens of Hamas policemen were killed, says that while military intelligence officers were sure the operation should be carried out and pressed for its approval, the IDF's international law division and the military advocate general were undecided.

After months of the operational elements pushing for the attack's approval, the international law division headed by Col. Pnina Sharvit-Baruch gave the go-ahead. In spite of doubts, and also under pressure, Sharvit-Baruch and the division also legitimized the attack on Hamas government buildings and the relaxing of the rules of engagement, resulting in numerous Palestinian casualties. In the division it is also believed that the killing of civilians in a house whose residents the IDF has warned might be considered legally justified, although the IDF does not actually target civilians in this way
Edit: again from China, the plot thickens:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert came to the defense of Col. Pnina Sharvit-Baruch on Sunday, speaking out against those seeking to prevent her from taking up a teaching position at Tel Aviv University when she finishes her IDF career in the coming weeks.

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