The head of the military said on Wednesday that he is opposed to lax rules of engagement that allow security forces to kill Palestinian assailants immediately following a terrorist attack.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot met a group of soon-to-be conscripts at a high school in Bat Yam. When asked by a student about the proper response to attacks similar to those seen during the past few months, the army chief replied: “The IDF doesn’t need to get swept up in clichéd statements like ‘Kill or be killed’ or ‘Whoever comes at you with scissors needs to be killed.’ “The tools that are at the soldiers’ disposal are sufficient,” the chief of staff said. “I don’t want to see a soldier empty a magazine [to shoot] a young girl with scissors.”
In recent months, more than 30 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians who have committed car-rammings, stabbings, and shootings in what is being called “the lone-wolf intifada” or “the knives intifada.”
Immediate steps by security forces in neutralizing the attackers have generated controversy, as some have argued that police and soldiers use excessive force in subduing the assailants.
On November 23, security officers shot two Palestinian teenage girls after they stabbed a 70-year-old Arab man (in a case of mistaken identity) in the head with scissors in downtown Jerusalem.
One of the girls was killed and the other critically wounded.
CCTV footage of the attack released to the media shows the two assailants wildly stabbing the elderly man in the head and then charging a police officer, who shot them.
Both terrorists ignored repeated warnings from the officer to drop their weapons.
“These days, you can find a knife in any kitchen and household,” Eisenkot said.
“The aim of terrorism is to sow fear and horror among the public. Terrorism succeeds when it prevents citizens of living their normal routine.”
The visit to the school, during which the army chief chatted with students as well as teachers and administrators from neighboring schools throughout Bat Yam, was aimed at preparing youngsters for their compulsory military service.