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."


  1. Is this a first step in defeating your enemy only to realize that you have become him?

  2. That sounds really horrible. What a huge departure from te previous policy of not leaving anyone behind.
    If Yediot Aharonot has publicized this, then I think that the IDF needs to make a statement confirming or denying this. Otherwise, parents may not be quite so willing to send their children to the army.

  3. Lets be clear, capture of an Israeli soldier (to, in theory, get hundreds or thousands of murderers dripping in blood back) is a major goal of the enemy. And, in the last 10 years NOT ONE ISRAELI SOLDIER CAPTURED HAS BEEN RETURNED ALIVE.

    Instead, they have suffered from months to years of captivity and serious torture, followed by a horrific death.

    The enemy is not practicing the Geneva convention. You can't pretend they don't do those things when you go into battle, rather you must have a suggested response. "Take them with you as you go" is a response guaranteed to reduce the enemy's motivation to attempt such kidnappings.

    And that final point is halachic motivation as well.

    Horrific is the enemy, you must be prepared to operate in that context.

  4. Sorry, but I don't believe this at all. Don't believe everything you read. I am going to check with my friend, an Israeli soldier, to find out if he knows anything about this issue.

  5. To me, it makes sense.
    Better to die and take the enemy down than to be tortured and killed, only to have your body returned in exchange for the freeing of live terrorists.