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IDF defends policy of restraint

Senior military source says policy of restraint in West Bank proved itself by preventing further violence. 'We can't fire at any stone-thrower and don't want to hurt noncombatants,' he said
Yoav Zitun

The IDF is defending its policy of restraint in cases of West Bank riots following criticism in the wake of two incidents that saw soldiers fleeing scenes of conflict.

"This policy has resulted in safer routes and very few casualties," a senior officer at the Judea and Samaria Brigade said.

"Had we fired indiscriminately during the many protests surrounding Operation Pillar of Defense and shot at every 13-year-old stone thrower, then we would have seen the operation spill over to the West Bank," he added.

Meanwhile, the IDF continues to investigate the Hebron and Kafr Qaddum incidents in which soldiers were photographed retreating as Palestinians pelted them with stones.

An initial inquiry into the Kafr Qaddum incident suggests that the soldiers failed to follow protocol by escaping and should have used crowd dispersal means instead.

The source stressed that the two incidents are isolated events and that most of the cases that led to internal inquiries in the past years were of soldiers who decided to open fire, mostly justifiably.

He further added that the IDF has updated its guidelines for company commanders and divided them to an array of possible scenarios.

The longest standing order which has not changed in the past decade is still valid: In clear cases of life threatening situations, a soldier must decide himself whether to open fire at the suspect or fire warning shots.

"We had many cases, including in the past month, where soldiers opened fire at protesters who put their lives at risk and did the right thing," the officer said.

Referring to the last two incidents he said, "The soldiers had the option of opening fire but felt they should not and in the Hebron case they did the right thing; they succeeded in preventing the hurling of stones at an Israeli community and no soldier was hurt."

The officer explained that the policy of restraint has proven itself in that it has prevented retaliatory terrorist attacks and violent protests.

"All fire orders are based on the purity of arms. It is our duty to act proportionately and fire a weapon only as the last resort. We do not want to hurt noncombatants and fire indiscriminately."

He revealed that fire orders are constantly being reviewed and that the IDF is considering the introduction of new crowd-dispersal means such as stun guns and special sponge bullets. The use of rubber bullets for example is only permitted upon the battalion commander's approval as they can be fatal if shot from a close range.

The military source further revealed that the IDF's fire orders do not distinguish between Jewish or Palestinian assailants. "In any case, it is always preferable to avoid firing whenever it is possible."
http://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/CdaArticlePrintPreview/1,2506,L-4318531,00.html

To sum this article up, we are losing not only the battle but maybe even the war.

Retreat is the policy of the IDF and the Israeli leadership and it is working so well for us.

You can see the results in the love pouring in towards Israel from the EU, UN and the USA.

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