Thursday, June 15, 2006

IDF Protects its Own - Despite Supreme Court Rulings

It is a rare day when an article in Haaretz perks me up - but today is one of them. In a piece this morning the author tells about how eight months ago the Supreme Court ruled against what they called "neighbor procedures". This was a way for the IDF to try to get a wanted fugitive to surrender, by using a neighbor to approach the person. This way the fugitive would not just shoot whoever came to the door, assuming he was an IDF soldier, and additionally the soldiers could get information about what was happening in the apartment so they could know how to proceed.

When discussing the case, the IDF warned that banning the procedure would unnecessarily endanger soldiers' lives. The court banned it anyway, despite expert testimony by Senior General Staff officers.

The IDF changed its tactics - but happily they found a way to proceed without endangering the soldiers. You've heard of the expression, it you can't go in through the door, try the window? Well, in this case it is if you can't go in through the door, try the wall... Now when they need to apprehend a fugitive holed up in a house, they shoot warning shots first, and if he doesn't give himself up, they start to bulldoze the house.

According to the article, "both the army and human rights groups, who closely follow developments in the territories, agree that the risk to the lives of Palestinian civilians is greater today. Furthermore, the new procedures result in more extensive damage to Palestinian homes."

In an understatement, the article also has the following quote, "the court's decision reflects a certain dislocation from the operational realities in the territories, and that the moral argument accepted by the court has resulted in grave danger to the lives of Palestinian citizens and their property."

Knee-jerk liberalism causes more harm than good, and the arrogance of the so called "elite" in the court who ignore other points of view in order to push through its own worldview can result in their hurting the very people they supposedly want to protect.


Blogger tafka PP said...


Why should the lives of innocent Palestinians be worth less than any other life, in the eyes of the Supreme Court?

There are many people who believe that we are at "war with the Palestinians" Yet being as Israel has lawmakers, civil servants and citizens who define themselves as Palestinian, it is not hard to understand why the Supreme Court clearly does not define the IDF's ongoing offensive against individual Palestinian terrorists or terrorist groups as a situation of war, or one requiring tactics that are clearly inhumane, however you look at them. You may call me naive, but I don't think there is anything more sinister than that going on here. And I certainly don't interpret that by upholding this ruling, the Court is sending out a message that it devalues the lives of its own Army- just that it is trying to strike a balance in an undefined situation. I don't envy them.

5:59 PM, June 15, 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

tafka - how someone defines themselves is not the point, and whether we are "officially" at war or not is also not the point. In this specific court case, they weighed the relative dangers inherent in the operation to both the Palestinian and the Israeli soldier. There was less danger to the Palestinian than there is to the Israeli soldier in this specific case, but they ruled that it didn't matter - their knee-jerk reaction was to favor the Palestinian. This is NOT what a judge is supposed to do and is a product of their biased thinking.

8:18 AM, June 16, 2006  
Blogger Oleh Yahshan said...

Israel is bound by Int. Law and in it there is a clear statement about using civilions in the war. That is why the court ruled the way it did.

The concept you are talking about is not a new one. It's Called Seer Lachatz (pressure Pot). It has been a concept in the army for a long time now and is not related to "Nohal Shachen".
The idea is that instead of going into the house (like we used to do) we set up around it and basicly start getting them out in any means possible. Tearing the house down is the last stage in a very long proccess. the fact that more houses get destroyd like this is not an Issue in Int. Law - since Human life is more important (I.E - using a neighbor to go into a house)

shabbat Shalom

11:28 AM, June 16, 2006  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

I understand the IDF used the "nohal shachen" last week in Yitzhar.

Sort of makes you wonder...

12:39 AM, June 18, 2006  
Blogger Oleh Yahshan said...

you know that the rules don't apply to some people. they also don't apply when treating others... like keeping a 14 year old in prison! for disturbug the peace.

You don't actually have civil rights - being the EVIL settler that you are... you are lucky we let you live here in the first place...

2:02 PM, June 18, 2006  
Blogger tafka PP said...

WBM- Yet if they'd ruled in the other direction, other people would have accused them of equally "biased" thinking.

I can't help wonder if there is another court system in the world under this much pressure and scrutiny from it's "own".

3:00 PM, June 18, 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

jameel - you mean the army did something not allowed by the Supreme Court *gasp*

oleh yashan - I see you have more "on the spot" info than I have

tafka - if the court can decide between the two sides fairly then it should do so. If it has to "take sides" then it should take sides with its own. Yes, I actually think they should side with the Jews against the Arabs. That is what happens in a healthy country - the government and its bodies protects its own first.

5:19 PM, June 18, 2006  
Blogger tafka PP said...

That is what happens in a healthy country - the government and its bodies protects its own first.

WBM- Ok, I realise that Palestinians might not be considered our "own", being as they aren't citizens (even if we do control their freedom and rights) but your statement is very problematic to me: Where do you draw the line? Are non-Jewish Israeli citizens our "own"? And do you really believe that a "healthy" court system which favours one group of citizens over another can allow effective justice?

Whatever your definition of "healthy country" is, sadly I think we have a long way to go before we fall even close to that category. This post is a case in point: You are accusing the Supreme Court of not protecting "its own". Yet the role of the Supreme Court isn't protecting citizens, or to uphold the will of the government (from which it is separate), or to be the lapdog of the IDF- It is supposed to engage solely in upholding the Law of the country. Meaning that if we, as citizens expect to be protected by the law, other people who reside in this country also can expect to be protected by the same law.

And I maintain that definitions are far from irrelevant. While the army act as if we are at continuous war, the Supreme Court don't. Sooner or later this disparity is going to blow up in all our faces: I just hope not literally.

7:07 PM, June 18, 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

tafka - yes, citizens should have the same rights to be protected by the law. But you cannot ignore the special circumstances that this case addresses. The Supreme court is wrong in judging the issues as if we are not in a state of war - how else can you define it when there are groups of people determined to kill innocent civilians, and the army has an obligation to capture these people before they have a chance to carry out their wishes? What else would you call it? If this were a "simple" criminal case then the police would handle it. This is not a simple academic exercise where you can theoretically be fair to everyone. A court sometimes has to choose between the rights of one citizen against the rights of another. Favoring a soldier who is risking his life to protect others, is, in my opinion, perfectly reasonable.

7:53 PM, June 18, 2006  
Blogger Osaid Rasheed said...

I dont know how you view this but using civilians by the IDF in this manner ( and in any situation 0 is UNETHICAL and its surely against international law.

Its not a matter of citizens or enemies or friends, its human dignity we are talking about here.

Tafka: i agree with you.

11:13 PM, June 18, 2006  
Blogger tafka PP said...

How else do I define it aside from a "state of war"?

That we're in a state of limbo- where the unfortunate situation on the ground today (irrespective of the history) is that our army controls the freedom of movement of an indigenous population, all of whom resent our presence in what they perceive to be their land, accuse us of stealing their land and homes, and many of whom will go to any lengths to destroy us. So yes, while our army "fights terrorists", that doesn't constitute a war.

So we can at least agree that the unclear circumstances make this case more than just a "simple criminal" one. But for different reasons!

Sorry to go on and on and hijack your comments box, I've just been dealing with these issues a lot lately. And even if you don't agree with me, I really want to bring that point home- that the majority of residents (Israeli and Palestinian) don't believe we are in a state of war and feel fully justified in that belief. And further it isn't that those people- for the sake of the argument lets bunch the Supreme Court, Haaretz readers, and "the left" all together- are blind to the violence, or in denial about prospects for peace, or even anti-Israel. Rather their experience is of a different perceptions of the current reality, ones which are no more or less valid than yours, and more importantly, based no more or less in facts/bias/agendas than yours.

I appreciate that it might sound like I'm dissing the underpinning Jewish meaning of living in the Land of Israel here, for the sake of pluralism. I'm actually not. I just think that we are doomed as a people and as a state unless we stop blaming each other for the terrible mess we are in and acknowledge that no solution can come about otherwise. (That isn't directed at you personally, this is a general rant. And I promise I'm finished now!)

12:47 PM, June 19, 2006  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

WBM: Israel's supreme court lives and rules from an ivory tower disconnected from the country.

Their Judicial Activism does not represent the rule of the country, or that of the Knesset and our elected lawmakers, rather their own liberal worldview on how THEY feel things should work.

The best thing we could have in Israel (as laughable as this may seem) is a JURY system. It's the only way a person could have a fair trial with an outcome based on a representative jury. Of course, this would drive the Supremem Court insane -- how dare we put the law in the hands of the common citizen!? They don't have the correct worldview!

1:26 PM, June 19, 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

tafka - don't worry about "hijacking" my comments box!!! As long as people argue respectfully I can deal with it..

jameel - I agree with you, a jury system in this country would be an improvement.

3:37 PM, June 19, 2006  
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