Monday, January 26, 2009

IDF Ordered to Avoid Capture Even by Suicide?

Update via Jameel: Confirmed but not? Hard to tell.

This is a very troubling report:
Israeli soldiers fighting in the Gaza Strip war this month were ordered to kill themselves rather than be captured, and if necessary to kill any Israeli soldier they saw being taken into captivity, the Yediot Achronot newspaper has reported.

"No matter what happens, no one will be kidnapped," the paper quotes one company commander telling his troops before the fighting began. "We will not have a Gilad Shalit 2."

While I understand the wish not to have prisoners for a variety of reasons, particularly when one considers the price Israel pays to get back such prisoners, ordering soldiers to commit suicide seems to be a horrible approach.
In the past, there were standing orders, known as "Hannibal mode", for firing at a vehicle taking Israeli troops into captivity to disable it and permit a rescue team to reach it, even at risk to the captive soldiers inside the vehicle. The new orders tighten those instructions, reportedly by permitting the vehicle to be blown up.
I understand the first approach, which is taking larger risks in dire circumstances... but the new approach is really disturbing. I must agree with Zvi Regev, whose son was one of those captured and killed by Hezbollah:
"We must leave a window of hope that the soldier will return," he said. "I'm shocked just to hear of the possibility that our soldiers will get orders to fire on other soldiers of ours."