When Everything Is a Crime

[Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies-Shalem Center] Yagil Henkin - In April 2002, Israel was accused of committing massive war crimes during Operation Defensive Shield. These claims primarily focused on the battle in Jenin, where 52 Palestinians were killed, most of them combatants, and 23 IDF soldiers lost their lives. In Jenin, the IDF began using tanks only after 40 hours of battle, and employed bulldozers to create safe passageways only after an ambush killed thirteen IDF soldiers. No artillery was used, and no bombs were dropped. The wholesale condemnation of the IDF in the wake of Defensive Shield contributed to the IDF taking a different approach during the Gaza operation. Thus, human rights organizations caused more harm 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 treated worse than countries that have committed them, 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. The writer is an associate fellow at the Adelson Institute.

2009-09-25 08:00:00

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