IDF Open-Fire Regulations Backfire
Armed IDF Soldiers Run Away from Stone-Throwing Palestinians
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Secrecy allows senior IDF officers to avoid responsibility for the killing of innocents. Invariably, they divert the blame to the soldiers in the field. In 2006, the IDF conducted an investigation on the issue. Partial results were published by Yedioth Aharonot, Israel's largest newspaper. The issues reported were "soldiers fail to understand the regulation's nuances," and "In places in which the unit added 'a verbal instruction" to the regulations, it was found that the soldiers become confused from the large amount of information." Eventually, two main problems appear from the secret protocol. It encourages a quick trigger finger; soldiers know that no matter what atrocity they commit, they will be protected by a secret military tribunal assessing the secret open-fire protocol. The second problem is that soldiers confused by the complexity of the orders (nicknamed "kastach," an acronym for "ass-cover"), often summarize "I am not a lawyer and will not take responsibility for opening fire." In the ultimate example of evil administration, the IDF Open-Fire Regulations backfire.
Lessons in Humility
Soldiers participate in lessons in which hypothetical and historical events are analyzed. They are encouraged to participate actively, asking questions and offering alternate solutions to the event. Most soldiers are unable to deal with the mass of information provided to them; they are not prepared to deal with moral dilemmas appearing as a result of contradictory orders. Two basic principles guide all Open-Fire Regulations. The first is to open fire only in case of direct and immediate threat to the soldiers' lives. The second is to fire exclusively at the people directly involved in such a threat. Secondary details relate to the way people should be shot; certain units use the "vidu ariga" protocol, in which the victim is shot point blank for a second time in order to "corroborate killing."
What happens when the first order contradicts the second? What can a soldier do when his friend is in immediate danger, but he cannot shoot without hitting an innocent passerby? This is the classical dilemma and the source of hundreds of assassinations. In December 2012, two small IDF forces got a powerful lesson in humility. They understood that the entire situation was wrong, and just walked away. I did that ten years ago, and can assure these brave men only one thing: they have become enemies of the state. Channel 7 has already blamed them for "harming deterrence."
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