Thursday, August 30, 2007

Better late than NEVER!

Comment: This writer suggested quite a long time ago that today's warfare requires a total re-examination of the "rules of war'. The agreed upon Geneva rules no longer apply in many instances. Finally, Israel has taken the proactive step of defining active war zones-it is long overdue-I hope they do not stop here-many more venues need redefinition!

Launch sites are war zones, IDF source says Hours after three Palestinian children killed in IDF attack in Gaza, military source explains terror organization use civilians, says 'army makes every effort not to harm civilians; Palestinians must make sure to keep children out of battle zone'
Hanan Greenberg

"The fact that Palestinian civilians, especially children, are killed, is unfortunate, does not serve our interests and does not promote a solution to the terror problem," a military source told Ynet Wednesday night, following the IDF attack on rocket launchers which left three children dead in Gaza.
Nonetheless, the source stressed that "the army makes every effort – sometimes beyond proportion – so as not to hurt civilians, but the terror organizations are using all means at their disposal. A Qassam launcher area is a battle zone, it is their territory, and they should make sure that no child or youth approaches the area."

Sources in Gaza said the three children, all members of the same family, were killed by an artillery shell that was fired in the direction of a group of Palestinians, mostly children, between the town of Beit Lahiya and the Jabalya refugee camp.

According to the Palestinians, the charred bodies of the victims were taken to a hospital but were difficult to identify. The children killed in the attack were eventually identified as 10-year-old Mahmoud Abu Ghazla, his 12-year-old cousin Yihya Abu Ghazla and their 10-year-old relative Sarah Abu Ghazla.

"More than once we preferred not to carry out this type of attack so as not to harm civilians. Nothing is certain here, if Palestinian civilians are identified, we hold fire, but this is not always possible," the source said.

"In cases where we don't fire, the IDF is taking a real risk, because minutes later, a child from Sderot could be injured from a Palestinian attack from that same exact point."

According to Southern Command data, since the IDF left Gaza in the disengagement plan two years ago, 584 terrorists and 54 civilians were killed, an 11:1 ration.

"In many cases, upon investigating the incidents, we find that civilians were killed because the terror organizations sent them to the battle zone, because the terrorists were staying among civilians or carrying out a certain activity that endangered the civilians," the source said.

'Complaints should be addressed to terrorists'
"We must remember that we are fighting in Gaza, one of the most densely-populated areas in the world, where 1.2 million people live on 360 square kilometers (about 140 square miles), and if this is not enough, then the terror organizations are pulling the IDF toward the populated areas, thus delegitimizing the army's war on terror."

Southern Command officials stressed that Qassam rocket cells are well-aware that civilian casualties are detrimental to the IDF's image around the world.

"We also make errors and are trying to learn constantly," one army official said. "We've improved greatly; in the past the number of innocent civilians hurt (in IDF attacks) was almost equal to the number of terrorists hurt – but the Air Force, the Command and the division have all done their homework.

"However, whenever there is a situation in which terrorists pay a group of teens to commit a terror-related act with the knowledge that they may not return alive, then the complaints should be addressed to the terrorists – and to them alone," he said.

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