Saturday, June 20, 2015

Was the IDF Overprotective During Operation Protective Edge? | Voice of IsraelAttorneys at War
Inside an elite Israeli military law unit
JUN 15, 2015, VOL. 20, NO. 38 • BY WILLY STERN

Kirya Military Base, Israel
For three straight days starting on July 15, 2014, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) made thousands of PHONEarrow-10x10.png calls to the residents of Shejaiya in northern Gaza. The locals were encouraged to evacuate their homes before IDF tanks rolled across the border. Tens of thousands of leaflets were dropped into the village. These leaflets suggested both a safe evacuation route and safe destinations to head for within Gaza City. The IDF sent similar messages daily via local television and radio. But that’s not all. The IDF also made dozens of phone calls to Shejaiya’s influential citizens, asking them to get out the word of the impending IDF incursion.
Thousands and thousands of warnings were given. The Israeli military authorities essentially told the enemy where the IDF troops would ENTERarrow-10x10.png the village and when. And for three days, Hamas fighters, no dummies, took full advantage. They dug their own forces in deeper. They activated booby-traps. They hid IEDs. They got snipers into perfect positions. They brought in additional fighters. They pre-positioned weapons. They readied their terror tunnels.
At this point, it was abundantly clear that IDF commanders had gone beyond any mandates that international law requires to avoid civilian casualties. No matter. Putting their own troops at even greater risk, IDF commanders decided to wait yet another day to allow more time for civilians to get out.
Then all hell broke loose. Shejaiya was the location of nasty urban fighting between Hamas and the IDF during the 2014 summer conflict. Sixty-seven Israeli soldiers would die in that war, and many of the injured are still in hospitals.