Dealing with terror
The highest moral standards – that’s what the IDF leadership and IDF justice system demand from our soldiers.
But this has encouraged murderers to commit further acts of terror, as perpetrated in Jerusalem (“4 soldiers killed in J’lem truck ramming attack,” January 9).
The IDF has been restrained long enough. The killing of the four soldiers and wounding of 17 others should be treated as an act of war. In war, you don’t impose strict guidelines to hamper the efforts of the IDF.
ISSY RIEBACK Kfar Yona
We, the citizens of Jerusalem and Israel, have had enough of these outrageous attacks.
We demand that they stop now! If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hasn’t got what it takes, let’s find someone who can do what must be done! The Palestinian Authority is on a high, seeking every possible opportunity to engage the international community in delegitimizing Israel while at the same time inciting violence and terrorizing our population.
I propose that with immediate effect, we close all the territories to the PA until it comes to its senses.
I know there will an economic price to pay, and the average Palestinian will unfortunately bear the brunt of it, but unless we can prod the rank and file to rebel against the fat cats in the PA, the status quo will remain. It is quite obvious by now that demolishing a terrorist family’s home is no deterrent, and it would seem that deportation to the Gaza Strip is not an option, so Palestinian workers should not be allowed entry into Israel. The answer is to bring in more foreign workers.
In this part of the world, it’s only the strong who survive.
It’s time to bite the bullet.
Let’s begin saving the precious lives of our people.
IVOR PLOTNIKOV Jerusalem
With regard to “Court convicts Azaria of manslaughter” (January 5), the judiciary can continue to state that rule of law is paramount in a democracy.
However, our enemies play by and preach not only a totally different set of rules, but a plan of non-recognition and a wish to annihilate.
I hope, therefore, that any and every terrorist acting against us (and everyone assisting this terrorist in any way) is dealt with by the full force of the law, and that the continual bleating from the Left will fall on deaf ears.
Our enemies will be defeated only from strength, not weakness, not matter how loud we scream “Democracy!”
STEPHEN VISHNICK Tel Aviv
Two days before the verdict, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen.Gadi Eisenkot spoke in a public forum, and his words left no doubt in my mind that he felt that Sgt. Elor Azaria was guilty of manslaughter (“Eisenkot: Azaria is a soldier, not ‘the whole nation’s son,’” January 4).
It appears to me that these statements, made before the verdict, could be construed as a thinly veiled attempt to influence the outcome of the trial. The timing of his remarks was, at the very least, inappropriate. One would assume that a person who is in the most senior position in the IDF would be much more judicious in choosing the timing of his remarks; this would be true whether or not one agreed with what he said.
Eisenkot stressed the idea of discipline among those serving in the IDF, which is very important. But being the head of the military, he should be the first to practice self-discipline and weigh carefully the effect of his words and their timing.
The people at the top of the chain of command must be held to the highest standards, and I think it proper that some kind of statement reflecting disapproval of the timing of Eisenkot’s remarks should be forthcoming from the Defense Ministry and even the government.
DOV BERGER Ramat Gan
Having served two tours in Iraq as a US Army officer, I and my comrades were required to apply the Rules of Engagement (ROE) in strict accordance with the Geneva Conventions and the International Laws of War. Prior to invading Iraq in 2003, Judge Advocate General lawyers briefed us on the following legal principles: • We were ordered to use deadly force if we perceived a threat to our lives or the lives of comrades from an enemy combatant or terrorist. We were warned that failure to do so would lead to adverse Uniform Code of Military Justice action and possible court-martial.
• The only two ways an enemy combatant or terrorist no longer poses a threat is if 1) the terrorist is confirmed dead or 2) the terrorist is handcuffed and detained as a prisoner of war.
• A terrorist who is wounded (even mortally) is still a threat. A soldier who perceives a threat to himself or his comrades from a wounded terrorist is required to use deadly force to eliminate the threat. A wounded terrorist presents a reduced threat but can still be deadly.
• If a terrorist surrenders and appears unarmed, he is still a threat until he is properly handcuffed and thoroughly searched.
Given these principles drawn from the International Laws of War, it is clear that IDF Sgt. Elor Azaria acted legally and properly to eliminate a perceived threat from a wounded but possibly still dangerous terrorist. In the US military, he would have received a commendation, but here in Israel, he was abandoned by the chain of command and the military justice system, and could now be thrown in jail.
It is tragic to see such an outrageous and immoral injustice committed in the Land of Israel. Is anyone surprised that armed soldiers failed to engage the terrorist in the truck ramming attack in Jerusalem on Sunday?
JONATHAN ZAGDANSKI Hashmonaim The writer is a chaplain in the US Army Reserve, with the rank of major.
Reader Henry Kaye (“Keep blaming Israel,” Letters, January 5) asks good questions about the voting by Russia, France and the UK on UN Security Council Resolution 2334, when each, as a good friend of Israel, could have vetoed it.
The rest of the world has gotten used to Israel relying on a US veto. Why expect France to do so when President François Hollande is as complicit as US President Barack Obama in wanting to leave a legacy (in Hollande’s case by hosting an international peace conference on the subject, notwithstanding his own lame duck status)? As for Putin, I think he was constrained by his relationships with allies in the Syrian quagmire.
As to the UK, a country of which I am an expatriate, it is a bit more of a puzzle to explain. I suspect that the May government was simply wrong-footed when it should have known that this was a ping pong game between the outgoing and incoming US presidents; common sense should have told it to back the incoming president in its own interests, never mind Israel’s.
However, it seems that the UK, to its discredit, was heavily involved in drafting and negotiating the text of the resolution, and thus an insider to Obama’s machinations.
On any basis, the prime culprit remains Obama, as will become all too apparent by the actions that Congress can take to mitigate the effects of the resolution.
PETER SCHWEITZER Tel Aviv
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