|Four-year-old Daniel Tregerman who |
was killed when by a mortar fired from
near an UNRWA facility in Gaza
15 June '15..
In yesterday's Jerusalem Post Editorial: Israeli war ethics (14 June '15) an extremely troubling question is raised, yet left unanswered. While the entire piece should be read in order to have the full context, the following should truly concern anyone who has given thought to where we have arrived.
A group of senior military and diplomatic experts recently provided evidence that the Jewish state has managed to handle a very difficult moral dilemma surprisingly well during last summer’s conflict between Israel and Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
Members of the mission included former NATO Military Committee Chairman Gen. (ret.) Klaus Naumann of Germany; former Italian foreign minister Giulio Terzi; former US State Department ambassador at large for war crimes issues Pierre-Richard Prosper; and the former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, Col. (ret.) Richard Kemp.
The pro-Israel NGO UN Watch facilitated the report, but don’t dismiss it out of hand for any pro-Israel bias.
Unlike the UN Human Rights Council, which is prejudiced against Israel because it views it as an illegal “occupier” and prime culprit in perpetuating the conflict with the Palestinians, this mission – known as the High Level International Group – compared in a fair and objective manner Israel’s conduct in Gaza with the armies of Western countries in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq and found Israel did outstandingly well.
“A measure of the seriousness with which Israel took its moral duties and its responsibilities under the law of armed conflict is that, in some cases, Israel’s scrupulous adherence to the laws of war cost Israeli soldiers’ and civilians’ lives,” the group said.
This is an astounding sentence. Not only did Israel make every effort to prevent the deaths of Palestinian noncombatants by warning them before military attacks were launched and calling off operations that would have caused a disproportionate amount of civilian casualties, Israel exposed its own soldiers and civilians to risks that ending up costing their lives.
This behavior exceeds the most exacting moral standards.
Indeed, it raises questions regarding Israel’s moral responsibility toward its own soldiers and civilians. Clearly, Israel’s first obligation is to its own civilians before the noncombatants on the enemy side, many of whom support Hamas and its goals.
None of Israel’s moral scrupulousness will impress the prejudiced members of the UN Human Rights Council as they prepare to release their findings....
Yes. "Indeed, it raises questions regarding Israel’s moral responsibility toward its own soldiers and civilians. Clearly, Israel’s first obligation is to its own civilians before the noncombatants on the enemy side, many of whom support Hamas and its goals." And the answer?