Friday, August 08, 2014

Israeli Procedure Reignites Old Debate

By ISABEL KERSHNER, NYT, AUG. 7, 2014

JERUSALEM — It was one of the bloodiest episodes in the just-ended conflict in Gaza.

Less than 90 minutes into a temporary truce last Friday that was supposed to have ended the fighting, Hamas fighters emerged from a tunnel and ambushed an Israeli unit, killing two soldiers and snatching a third, prompting the Israeli Army to pursue the captors and unleash a barrage of artillery and airstrikes on a heavily populated section of the southern border town of Rafah.

When it was over, 120 Palestinians were dead, along with the captured soldier.

It was one of the rare invocations of the Israeli military’s “Hannibal procedure,” one of its most dreaded and contentious directives, which allows commanders to call in extra troops and air support to use maximum force to recapture a lost soldier. Its most ominous clause states that the mission is to prevent the captors from getting away with their captives, even at the risk of harming or endangering the lives of the captured Israeli soldiers.

(More here.)

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