Officer reportedly says IDF changed policy to
minimize its casualties in Gaza.
The IDF risked
the lives of Palestinian civilians in order to minimize the risk posed to its
soldiers during Operation Cast Lead, the Independent quoted "a high-ranking" IDF
officer as saying in a report published Wednesday.
The officer, who reportedly served as a commander
during the war in Gaza, acknowledged that following the heavy casualties in the
Second Lebanon War, the IDF went beyond its previous rules of engagement on the
protection of civilian lives in order to minimize military
He reportedly said that he "did not regard the
longstanding principle of military conduct known as 'means and intentions' –
whereby a targeted suspect must have a weapon and show signs of intending to use
it before being fired upon – as being applicable before calling in fire from
drones and helicopters."
The Independent claimed that the officer described
the IDF rules of engagement to a Yediot Ahronot reporter, but that the paper
chose not to publish the article although it was ready five months
When IDF soldiers operated in areas that were
supposedly cleared of civilians, "whoever is left in the neighborhood and wants
to action an IED [improvised explosive device] against the soldiers doesn't have
to walk with a Kalashnikov or a weapon," the officer reporteldy told Yediot. "A
person like that can walk around like any other civilian; he sees the IDF
forces, calls someone who would operate the terrible death explosive and five of
our soldiers explode in the air. We could not wait until this IED is activated
A more junior officer, who reportedly served at a
brigade headquarters during the operation, described the new IDF policy as one
of "literally zero risk to the soldiers".
Another IDF soldier told the Independent that the
army's conduct in Gaza, particularly by aerial forces and in areas where
civilians had been urged to leave by leaflets, had "taken the targeted killing
idea and turned it on its head."
Instead of using intelligence to identify a
terrorist, "first you take him down, then you look into it," he was quoted as
According to the Independent, the IDF declined to
comment on the claims and directed all inquiries to already-published material,
including a July 2009 Foreign Ministry document 'The Operation in Gaza: Factual
and Legal Aspects.'