Thursday, October 06, 2005


What Counterterror Tactic Would the High Court Approve Of?

The Israeli High Court of Justice has forbidden IDF soldiers from asking Arab neighbors of terrorists to go into the house where a known terrorist is hiding in order to warn innocents that the soldiers are outside and to ask the terrorist to give up. The justices put forward some very interesting arguments in support of their determination in this case, which leads me to some follow-up questions of my own.

1. The justices said that the problem with the tactic of asking Arab civilians to deliver the warning to the terrorists is that those selected by the military are innocent bystanders.

So, what if the military started using convicted terrorists already in Israeli custody for delivering the message? Then, the messengers cannot be considered "innocent". As an added benefit, if the prisoner elects to join his besieged comrade-in-arms rather than deliver the warning, then the IDF can eliminate the both of them, thus saving the Israeli taxpayer some money.

2. The justices determined that even when the Arab civilian agrees to perform the IDF-assigned task of warning the terrorists of their impending capture or doom, he is not actually volunteering, because his agreement is under duress of the military. On the other hand, the court determined that the hapless Arab who delivers the message for the army is likely to be deemed a collaborator by his fellows and murdered.

There has never been a case of an Arab killed by Israeli troops for not agreeing to deliver the warning to his fellow Arabs. There have been many, many killings by Arabs of other Arabs deemed collaborators with the "occupation". Considering the odds, it seems that the pressure to acquiesce to the soldiers' request is completely, overwhelmingly outweighed by the pressure not to be fingered as a "collaborator".

3. What is the military to do now when faced with a few terrorists in a building in a hostile city like Jenin? The knights of human rights - in the courts and out - have determined that dropping a bomb that is sure to kill the target - along with "collateral damage" - is immoral; a surprise ground attack is not safe for innocent bystanders; sending an Arab bystander in to warn the terrorist and his unlucky neighbors of an impending Israeli attack - which might save those innocents who could then flee the terrorist's vicinity - is unethical; and now, even asking an Arab bystander to warn the terrorists is immoral.

What is left for the army to do in order to capture the terrorist without risking the soldiers' lives or those of the terrorist's next-door neighbors? Apparently, not much.

Oh, wait. There is one tactic that the Israeli High Court would approve in Israel's war against the terrorists.


Or, as the Arabs have dubbed it: "running away".

They may tacitly approve signs with flowers on them that say,"Dear Mr. Peace Activist, Please don't hurt us! We love you...all we want is peace"

That might pass muster with the Supreme long as there are flowers on the sign.
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