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Confirmed Killing

IDF captain was accused of shooting body of 13-year-old girl Photo: Meir Azoulay
IDF captain was accused of shooting body of 13-year-old girl Photo: Meir Azoulay
 
 

So who is guilty?

IDF, Israeli society guilty for actions of Capt. R

Yona Boimfeld
Published: 11.16.05, 22:21 / Israel Opinion

It isn't exactly clear why the acquittal of Captain R. is a "certificate of honor" for the army, as the chief military prosecutor claimed Tuesday, or how it "confirms the high moral standards of the IDF," as another high-ranking officer said.

 

What a puzzling collection: Here we have a dead 13-year-old girl, an innocent company commander, and a super-moral army? Yet again, the IDF has appeared out of the fog of its "operational activity" and told us citizens about morals?

Controversial Shooting
'Confirmed kill' case: Full acquittal / Hanan Greenberg
Southern Command military court acquitted Tuesday of all charges an IDF captain who was accused of violating army rules by shooting at the body of 13-year-old Palestinian girl he feared was sent by terrorists
Full Story

 

Too infrequently, and too late, we find the IDF acting in our name according to two distinct moral codes: one in nicely air-conditioned rooms under neon lights, and the other – in the real world of actual operation.

 

Moral codes are not shaped according to reality; they are subject to investigation. Therefore, they remain pure and clean, and we dirty ourselves trying to maintain red lines and sanity.

 

Dear judges

 

The IDF failed as soon as it gave up morality as its highest value and began to attune it to changing situations and random rules for opening fire.

 

A 13-year-old was killed, but the judges see fit to tell us "the media should also recognize its limits, and particularly when we are talking about operational activity that requires professional knowledge and expert understanding. Journalists do not always have this knowledge."

 

Dear judges, we do not need the media for questions of operational activity, but rather for moral questions – and about those, the IDF has no monopoly.

 

Quite the opposite.

 

Whitewashing language

 

The IDF launders ideas such as "confirmed kill," "neutralizing a threat,"destruction area" and "illegal use of a weapon," and we citizens are expected to take pride.

 

Take pride in what? In the fact that our soldiers act like robots? In the fact that they didn't bother to find out who she was before pumping the girl full of holes? Or perhaps in the fact that the company commander acted completely within standing orders?

 

Captain R. said at his trial: "I didn't think about anything except the fact that I've got to repel the terrorists, to push away the threat and to ensure the line of contact is not breached, as happened at Morag."

 

Each word - a gem. Except that there were no terrorists, threats, or contact lines threatening to be breached.

 

At the end of the day we are left with a dead teenager and an innocent company commander. What's the connection between this and morality?

 

Guilty society

 

Capt. R got off. The IDF and Israeli society are all guilty.

 

We are guilty for allowing all inspection and critical apparatus – both military and civilian – to fall apart in front of our very eyes.

 

Once again, judges tell us investigations are a sad joke. But mainly we are all guilty because we continue to send another generation of young people to this bloody area, with no real desire to think about what this means.

 

We have created a terrific "dishwasher" for words in order to hide the facts that are not nice to hear. Instead of speaking about destruction areas and a 13-year-old girl killed in the name of the State of Israel, we speak about exceptions and illegal use of a weapon.

 

The military judges acquitted the "exception," but we must consider the fact that the story has freed us all from the real debate.

 

Yona Boimfeld is founder of Breaking the Silence

 

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