ISRAEL @ WAR: Jenin Redux
The Result: 13 soldiers were killed fighting in Jenin (known as Suicide City), during Operation Defensive Shield, after the IDF chose to use ground forces instead of using air strikes or tanks and heavy armor, out of concern for the wellbeing of the Jenin "civilians". (23 IDF soldiers were killed in total during operations in Jenin).
Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant Tabaat Mardawi, told CNN enthusiastically from his prison in Israel, that -- after learning the IDF was going to use troops, and not planes -- "It was like hunting ... like being given a prize. I've been waiting for a moment like that for years."
Mardawi told CNN that Palestinian fighters had spread "between 1000 and 2000 bombs and booby traps" throughout the camp. Time Magazine said that "some of the bombs were huge – as much as 250 lb. of explosives...compared with the usual 25 lb. a suicide bomber uses."
The Result: 8 IDF soldiers were killed after being caught in an ambush in Hezbollah village stronghold, Bint Jbail.
As was the case with the "Palestinians" in Jenin, Hezbollah made use of a (strongly pro-Hezbollah) civilian population in their fight against the IDF - using homes, mosques and human shields to hamper the IDF's ability to fight a "fair fight".
As such, IDF soldiers are being put in a no-win situation:
Kill the enemy, with the risk of harming civilians, or don't kill the enemy - out of concern for the wellbeing of the civilians - and in return, place oneself into grave danger at the hands of an enemy that is not guided by any such "moral convictions".
The time has long since passed for the IDF to learn a number of lessons from its mistakes.
There is no reason to send IDF ground forces into ambushes, or send them to fight a battle that they can't possibly win because they are fighting with one arm tied behind their back.
If Hezbollah chooses to fight from mosques or from civilian populated areas, then those areas and individuals become legitimate targets.
The IDF has (or should have) 2 top priorities:
1) Win the war.
2) Do so with as few casualties to IDF soldiers as possible.
Danny Navon, Prof. at Haifa Univ., in an article in Ha'aretz, clarifies what, according to international law, should be the IDF's attitude towards Lebanese civilians:
Harming the civilian population in Lebanon constitutes a war crime. Untrue.
War ethics calls for abstention from an intentional harm of non-combatant populations, and to prevent as much as possible unintentional harm to those populations. But it is not always possible to prevent all unintentional harm. It is much harder when enemy troops systematically use the cover of a civilian population, in order to put the opposing side in a cruel dilemma between the achievement of its goals and an attempt to abstain as much as possible from violating war ethics.
In our case, Hezbollah intentionally operates from within a civilian population, often from house terraces and mosque courts. Furthermore, most of the civilians used for these ends do so in full consent and thus they cross the line from non-combatant to combatant.