The Association for Civil Rights in Israel appealed to Defense Minister Amir Peretz after IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz apparently said that “for every Katyusha barrage on Haifa, 10 more buildings in the Dahiya neighborhood of south Beirut will be bombed.”
The association complained that Peretz must clarify to Halutz that it is completely unacceptable to motivate military activity on revenge.
“The grave and illegal targeting of Israeli citizens does not justify such illegal orders, which means the indiscriminate targeting of civilians and civilian interests,” the association said.
They further noted that the army chief’s most recent comments should not be considered apart from the context of statements he made while serving as deputy chief of staff during the targeted assassination of Sheikh Salah Shahada which killed an additional 16 Palestinians, mostly civilians.
At the time, Halutz said, “If you want to know what I feel when I release a bomb – I feel a slight knock on the wing of the plane when the bomb is released. After a second it passes, and that’s all.” The comments even reached the High Court of Justice at the time.
'Black flag of clear illegality'
In a letter to the defense minister, members of the association wrote, “Striking civilians and civilian infrastructure and using intentional means of intimidation and terrorizing civilian populations is forbidden by international humanitarian law, and could be war crimes.”
The group said: “There appears to be a black flag of clear illegality waving over the chief of staff’s remarks.”
The civil rights organization noted, “The gravity of the situation following these orders should not be belittled, which are apparently directing Israel’s army operations.”
They demanded Peretz direct Halutz, among of things, to minimize strikes on Lebanese civilians, civilian homes, property and essential infrastructure. Copies of the appeal were also sent to Attorney General Menahem Mazuz.